The Kilpoola Lake area is located in rolling hills about 5 km west of Osoyoos, extending from the Canada-United States of America border north to about 7 km to Blue Lake. The site itself is a mix of open bunchgrass grasslands (primarily big sagebrush), aspen copses, and open, dry coniferous woodlands dominated by Douglas-fir with scattered Ponderosa Pine. Two main alkaline lakes, Kilpoola and Blue, each about 20 ha in size, are part of this IBA, as are several small ponds. This diversity of habitats in the area creates a situation of high avian diversity, and make this site a favourite among BC birdwatchers. The site hosts many rare or endemic species of fauna and flora, such as Merriams Shrew and Lyalls Mariposa Lily, which occur nowhere else in Canada. It is also prime habitat for many mammals, including Spotted Bat and Nuttalls Cottontail, and amphibians, such as Great Basin Spadefoot Toad and Tiger Salamander.
The Kilpoola Lake site has four species of birds that occur in nationally significant numbers. Up to five Sage Thrashers have been recorded - about a quarter of this nationally endangered species small and varying Canadian population. About 1.6% of the national Flammulated Owl (nationally Special Concern) population occurs here, with up to 10 birds recorded in the breeding season. Over 20 of the nationally Special Concern Lewis' Woodpecker (2% of the Canadian population) breed here, while the nationally endangered White-headed Woodpecker occurs year round, but in extremely small numbers (up to 2 which is 2% of the national population).
Other birds considered to be at risk in British Columbia that have been recorded at this site are Grasshopper Sparrow, with up to 40 birds per year, and Brewers Sparrow, with in excess of 200 birds breeding each summer. The nationally endangered Sage Grouse formerly occurred here, but has since been extirpated.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kilpoola Lake Area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022.