Most Common Animals In Vancouver You May See

Are you wondering what the most common animals in Vancouver are?

Born and raised in Vancouver, I’ve seen many of these animals in the city, whether in my neighbourhood, around the city, or exploring the ocean and forest.

Wildlife encounters in Vancouver are typically common for most of these animals, while others aren’t. But, between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this city is home to a variety of wildlife that adds a touch of nature to its urban landscape. 

From parks to shorelines, Vancouver is home to all animals, big and small. And you’ll be sure to see a lot of animals while you visit Vancouver.

Most Common Animals In Vancouver

Here are all the most common animals you may see in Vancouver on land, in the water, or flying in the air.

Birds

Let’s start with the birds. While many different species of birds live in British Columbia, these are the most common that you may see flying around the city or while driving to more suburban areas.

1. Crows

Crows have to be the number one bird you’ll see in Vancouver; they’re everywhere. With its black feathers and distinctive caw, you’ll often find them flying through the skies, perched on buildings, or scavenging for food in parks and streets.

Two black birds sitting on a rock. The ocean is in the background and other rock formations and small islands. Crows are the most common animals in Vancouver that you will see.

2. Pigeons

Another common bird you’ll see mostly around businesses is the pigeon, also called rock doves. With grey feathers, green-purplish necks, and casual cooing, these birds live in the city, perched on ledges and pecking around the ground.

A dark grey pigeon with a green,blue and purple looking feathers on it's neck looking out between a wooden plank and cement.

3. Seagulls

In Vancouver, seagulls are a common and distinctive sight around water. You can spot them with their white and grey feathers and yellow beaks.

A grey and white with orange feet seagull standing on a metal railing. You can see the boats docked in the marina and the mountains in the background.

4. Canadian Geese

Canadian geese are well known to Canadians as the “Cobra Chickens,” or, as I like to call them, “The Canadian Military.” You can see many of these geese whenever there’s ample green space, such as parks and fields or by ponds and lakes.

You can recognize Canadian geese in the air as they form a V-shaped flight formation and distinctive honking noises.

Don’t get too close to them, as they can be mean and will hiss at you; yes, they hiss like snakes or cats and will attempt to bite. Also, watch out for geese poop!

Two brown body with black head geese standing near a lake under a tree. There is alos a duck chilling with them too.

5. House Sparrows

House Sparrows are considered invasive and were introduced to British Columbia in the 1850s. They’re small brown birds, with males having black markings and brighter colours of brown, while the females are fluffy and have duller coloured feathers.

A small looking bird thats brownish grey and looks a bit chunky sitting on tiny branches in a tree that has pink flowers.

6. Eagles

Eagles are large birds of prey with a wingspan ranging from five and a half feet to eight feet. They’re also known for their powerful flight and keen eyesight. Their appearance includes white heads, dark brown feathers, hooked beaks, and talon feet.

They’re often associated with habitats, including mountains, forests, and coastal areas. I’ve seen many eagles outside the city or soaring high in the sky, especially during the summer.

A large bald eagle (white head and tail) with a yellow beak and talon feet has its wingspan out and looks like its going to land or catch something in the snow.

7. Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Herons are characterized by long beaks, legs, and wide wingspans, making them easy to recognize. Often found by the water, you can see them hunting for fish.

Despite being non-migratory and sticking around throughout the year, these herons are considered at risk due to habitat loss in British Columbia.

🔎 Where To See: Stanley Park along the seawall, Whiterock, Richmond.

A grey feathered long ish neck  with a long ish beak haron standing in the water. There is a seaweed covered long rock and you can see the city skyline blurred int the background.

Marine Wildlife

Vancouver is situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and has many lakes and rivers, so you’re bound to see some marine wildlife. 

8. Seals

Seals, particularly harbour seals, are common marine mammals around Vancouver. With their spotted and streamlined bodies, they inhabit the coastlines, estuaries, and coastal waters, often spotted resting on rocks or near shorelines.

A grey spotted chonky seal basking in the sun agains some rocks with seaweed and coral.

9. Orcas (Killer Whales)

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are popular marine mammals frequently seen in the waters around Vancouver during the migration season.

Both resident and transient orcas are commonly seen off the coast of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Residents killer whales, known for their close family bonds, primarily feed on fish. At the same time, transient killer whales prefer other marine mammals and lead more solitary lives.

Two black and white orcas or killer whales swimming in the ocean.

Orcas are the marine animals that represent Vancouver. We have a professional hockey team called the Vancouver Canucks, where their logo is an orca.

When I was younger, there used to be painted orca statues you could find around Vancouver; however, there are maybe one or two left around. But there’s a sculpture of a killer whale beside the Vancouver Convention Centre called Digital Orca.

There are whale-watching tours in Vancouver or Victoria, and if you’re wondering if they’re worth it, they are.

🔎 Where To See: This whale-watching tour is the best way to see orcas in Vancouver.

10. Salmon

Vancouver, British Columbia, is famous for its abundance of salmon. Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Chum, and Pink salmon can be found near the city or in rivers and streams in British Columbia.

🔎 Where To See: Capilano River Salmon Hatchery, Chehalis River Hatchery, Chilliwack River Hatchery, and more locations.

Two salmon swimming up stream and jumping out of the water to get over the rocks.

Land Animals

These are the common land animals in the city or around parks such as Stanley Park or other local parks in the tri-cities.

11. Coyotes

Introduced to Vancouver in the 1980s, coyotes are resourceful wild canines that have become part of the city’s urban wildlife. They’re grayish-brown with distinctive pointed ears and a bushy tail. They inhabit parks, green spaces, and suburban neighbourhoods.

Coyotes are adaptable omnivores that feed on small mammals, birds, fruits, and insects and may scavenge in urban areas. While generally wary of humans, some are known to be aggressive, especially near a den.

🔎 Where To See: This is more of a warning because they do like to frequent Stanley Park.

A coyote in the street. It's a brown and white mix with a black strip going down the back.

12. Raccoons

Trash Pandas! Also known as raccoons, they’re relatively common in Vancouver. While you may not see them in the city centre, you’ll see them in local neighbourhoods, parks, allies, etc.

I usually see a raccoon at least once a week. One time, I had a family of six raccoons on my back porch, and they climbed onto my roof.

A grey and white raccoon looking out in a bush of dead brush.

13. Squirrels

British Columbia has four types of tree squirrels: Red Squirrels, Douglas Squirrels, Northern Flying Squirrels, and Eastern Grey Squirrels.

You’ll see Eastern Grey Squirrels the most in Vancouver, as they’re adapted to the city. They’re larger than the native squirrels and can be grey, black, or brindle. They have large, bushy tails that are longer than their bodies.

🔎 Where To See: Queen Elizabeth Park has many squirrels.

A grey squirrel sitting in a tree eating something.

14. Rats

Rats, yes, you’ll most likely see a rat running around a Downtown Vancouver ally. Or, if you’re lucky, run across from you during a walk, which has happened to me many times. They mostly come out during the night when no one is around.

A brown rat running along the side of a creek in the dark. There are ivy leaves in the background.

15. Mice

Same as rats, we have mice. I’ve seen more mice than rats in the city during both the night and day. You may see black boxes in restaurants, on the side of buildings, or in other locations; those are for catching mice.

A little brown fluffy mouse sitting on a stick.

16. Skunks

We do have skunks in Vancouver, and I had a skunk live in the area around my neighbourhood, but I believe it’s no longer around. They’re black with two white stripes down the middle of their bodies to their tails and a white line on their faces.

Stay away from a skunk because they can spray you more than 10 feet away. Sometimes, you may smell a skunk spray in a neighbourhood lingering in the air – it doesn’t smell the greatest.

A bushy tail black body with two white strips that split on the back and one white line on the head is known as a skunk.

17. Black bears

Black bears are typically more common in North Vancouver, the suburbs of Coquitlam, or anywhere near the mountains; they like to poke around at people’s garbage bins for food. In addition, Vancouver Island’s most common animal is the black bear.

Despite their typically solitary and shy nature, they’re still dangerous, especially if they have cubs, which can cause mothers to become aggressive. Encounters with humans may occur, especially on hiking trails or at campgrounds.

Black bears are one of the most common animals in Vancouver to see near the more mountain areas. This black bear is roaming in the grass.

18. Rabbits

While they aren’t seen all around Vancouver, you can see rabbits in a local park in Vancouver. In the West End community at Jericho Park, many wild rabbits like to come out during the evening to eat the grass on the field.

They’re timid and will hop away from you as you approach them.

A fluffly matted lbrown and grey looking rabbit sitting in the grass at Jericho Park.

What To Do If You See A Dangerous Animal In Vancouver

First, if you see a dangerous animal in Vancouver, don’t approach it. Secondly, you can call the non-emergency police line (604-717-3321) to report a wildlife encounter, and they’ll contact the conservation officers.

Most Common Vancouver Wildlife – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the most common animals in Vancouver.

What Animals Are In The Harbour In Vancouver?

You can spot orcas and seals in Vancouver’s harbours. It’ll be your best time to see them during whale watching season.

What Animals Live In Stanley Park Vancouver?

Many animals live in Stanley Park. Some include coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and more.

Does Vancouver Have Sea Lions?

It’s rare to spot sea lions in Vancouver. But some have been spotted before.

Does Vancouver Have Bobcats?

British Columbia is home to bobcats. But, in Vancouver, there are rarely bobcat sightings. However, some bobcats or lynxes have been spotted in the suburbs.

Conclusion

As you can see, Vancouver’s unique geography, encompassing forests, parks, and marine ecosystems, provides an excellent habitat for wildlife in the city. So if you’re by the water, in the city, or in a local neighbourhood, you’re bound to see one of Vancouver’s common animals.

Have a good day 🙂