Animals in and around Atlin
Hein and Wil website

golden crowned sparrow
Bear tracks

Since Atlin is situated on the edge of a huge wilderness area, it will be no surprise to hear we have many wild beasts and birds frequenting our small community.
The neighbouring pond attracts many migratory birds in spring and fall, on their way to their breeding grounds further north in the tundra.

golden eagle juv.

Male Finch
Canada Geese
wolf tracks
wolf tracks
northern harrier


Last updated 2-dec-10


Clicking on any of the pictures will open a new window with an enlargement.


Moose are resident in the area. In the winter they even come into our yard to snip off the dried flowers that still stick out above the snow. Mostly we see them at dusk and dawn: difficult light conditions: hence no pictures.
Even though foxes are also coming out to our yard later in the evening, this one I captured strolling through our yard somewhat earlier in the day. In the last years coyotes seem to have pushed foxes out of the area.
Of the smaller mammals, an interesting little fellow is the vole. In the 2006-2007 winter we had many of these. They had long runways under the huge snowcover of that winter. In the spring you can tell whether it has been a good vole year when the lawn is all hatched grass and the stems of the wild rose bushes are all de-"barked" just above groundlevel.

Large mammals are all indigenous to the area. Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, wolf and nowadays more coyotes.
Wolf tracks
Prey animal for bear but especially wolves are the Mountain Caribou of the Atlin herd.

Bear tracks.

The other day while walking with Frodo, our dog, in the woods starting from our house we came across some mounts of half digested berries: bear(s) in the neighbourhood! That's why we always make sure we carry our canisters of bear spray even if we go on a bike ride along the Atlin Road. We see too many of them and actually Hein on a trainingsrun ran into one some time ago. No harm done that time: the (black) bear was just as startled as he was.

Among the avian residents we have the finches, the white-crowned and the golden-crowned sparrows, warblers, blackbirds and the real cute Rufous Hummingbird, here at the far northern limit of their breeding range.
White-Crowned Sparrows
Golden-Crowned Sparrow
Rufous Hummingbird
All the big N-American raptors are present. Regularly we see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and Ospreys. I know of at least three Osprey nest within an hour sailing distance of Atlin, one of which we can spy upon from our bedroom window.
Osprey antics
Juvenile Golden Eagle
The Northern Harrier patrols the alkali flats just next to our house. Generally they migrate south for the winter but I have seen this bird swooping back and forth as late as 7 December.
Sharp-Tailed Grouse are around all year as well. A family seems to have taken up residence among the bushes in our back alley. This bird sat in the tree in our backyard. Frodo loves to chase these birds into the trees on our walk through the bush.
Later in the spring many species just drop in on us for a few hours or days, refuel and then carry on to breed further north on the tundra, among them:
Canada Geese
Green-Winged Teal
Sandpipers of some kind
Semi-Palpated Plover
Lesser Yellowleg
Obviously this is only a very small sampling of the wild creatures that surround us and make our life so rich.
pine grosbeak
yellow warbler
canada geese in flight
golden eagle
During the winter we do not see many birds.
From farther north we see the Pine Grossbeaks pass the winter in the trees and shrubs around our house. Of course the chickadees keep us company throughout the year
Pine Grosbeak
As soon as the weather moderates in March and before the last snow has disppeared, the first migrants are showing up: Canada Geese are among those first arrivals.
Yellow Warbler
Red-Winged Blackbird
Majestic Golden Eagle surveying its territory
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2 Grizzlies on Road
Grizzly close up
grizzly on right flank

These grizzlies
(Ursus horribiles) were frequenting the Atlin Road in the fall of 2009.
Unfortunately some yahoo saw it fit to shoot at least one of the majestic animals.

Black Bear
Black Bear
(Ursus americanus)
Short Tailed Weasel

I found this dead Short Tailed Weasel (Mustela erminea) in the back alley next to our woodpile. I don't know what caused his demise. Since most of these Mustelidae are nocturnal it is difficult to get a good picture.
Apparently this animal is the strongest in the world relative to its bodyweight

Boh Waxwings flock
Boh Waxwing
In the fall we see these big flocks of Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) congregating in the aspen trees around the house. Any bushes with berries left or trees with half frozen apples are stripped clean in no time.
Purple Finch
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle and Mew Gull
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