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Canadian Coast Mountains - bird with single whistle following us on a hike (1 Viewer)


New member
Hello, new to the forum, happy to be here!

Hopefully someone can help with identifying a bird that was following my wife and I on a hike in the Rockies Coast Mountains near Merritt BC.

Long story short we were passed by a group of hikers (about 10 of them) with no gear, walking in shoes like converse and vans, up a trail that is rated as "difficult" on alltrails. We got to the top of where we were going (which definitely was difficult, even with the right gear) and saw them up another ridge, just trucking along.

Well, while we were at the top the whole mountain range started to sock in with clouds, to the point where it was difficult for us to even find the trail back down.

But about halfway down we heard this whistle and the first thing both of us thought that it was a whistle from the hikers that passed us, we were already pretty worried about the other hikers already and this really freaked us out.

The thing that made it a bird though was that it was following us down the mountain and was this:

One single whistle that lasted approximately 5 seconds, no pitch change, then stop, wait about 30 seconds, repeat. Followed us basically the whole way back, not getting closer and not getting further away.

My initial thoughts were a white throated sparrow as the initial tone of their "song" sounds much like what we heard, but didn't have the ending portion.. it just ended.

Any thoughts on this? Any help is very much appreciated!

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Picture Picker
Welcome to Birdforum. I hope you enjoy your visits.

I’m sorry I can’t help with your query.


Well-known member
A couple possibilities: if it was in coniferous forest could be Varied Thrush. If it was more rocky, open habitats, or a long rockslide the trail was traversing/keeping near (at high elevation) it could have been Hoary Marmot. The latter has a particularly far carrying call. Other Marmot/ground-squirrels are possibilities as well. Note that none of the above have whistles lasting anywhere near 5sec but I can't think of anything else off the top of my head that fits that description.

For what it's worth, Merrit is quite a ways from the Rockies ;) . I believe the mountains there are the eastern extent of the Coast Mountain Range (assuming you were west of Merrit).


New member
You're absolutely right on both fronts, I looked up the Varied Thrush and that is definitely the call that we heard. You're also right about it not being the rockies, it definitely is the eastern slope of the Coast Mountain Range.

Thank you very much for the help!

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Hi RockLobster and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

What an attractive bird the Varied Thrush is.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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