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Roberts Creek: communing with bears, eagles, and cougars


As I have said numerous times on this blog, I love where I live. This is the uphill view of Roberts Creek from the bridge on Lower Road. Not far from there, northeast down the road, two bald eagles live in a tall Douglas fir with a nest at about 120 feet (36.6 metres) up. Every day, as I sit at my computer, I hear them screeching and calling and can see them gliding effortlessly in the sky.


My husband Frank, who had never seen a bald eagle before moving to Canada’s west coast, likes to watch this talkative pair from our front deck, using a telescope. In a recent severe wind storm, the eagles’ nest of large sticks and pine branches appeared to dislodge and break apart. In the past few days, we have seen the eagle pair build a new nest, flying in with long sticks hanging from their beaks. I love having them as neighbours.


Our area also has black bears and cougars. Although a few people in the Creek have seen a cougar on the beach and in their yard, Frank and I have only seen their footprints. Several years ago, a neighbour of ours up the hill had a cougar on the roof of their woodshed. I thought that we might have had one on our roof one dark night. I heard something heavy pounce and land on our roof, causing it to shake significantly. Nothing I have heard before or since equalled that shake and sense of weight.


Here’s the mouth of Roberts Creek, where it opens into the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver Island is the silhouette on the horizon. We get salmon spawning here every year.

Occasionally, a bear will stroll through our yard, almost always at night. One bear bashed its way through our side gate, knocking out the vertical slats, and got into our garbage. We’re really careful now about not putting out our garbage until the morning of pick-up. The same bear broke through our neighbour Cathy’s front gate three different times, leaving a large hole in the middle of it. The bear awareness official ended up putting a huge bear trap in the parking lot behind our house; it’s a large, mesh tunnel-shaped cage. They didn’t catch anything.


Recently, a bear knocked down our bird feeders and our hummingbird feeder, emptying them all. Frank and I feel no ill will towards the creature and are sad that humans have encroached so much on their habitat through housing developments and deforestation. We wish that everyone would be careful about their garbage and fruit trees to prevent attracting bears.


This week, Frank  found a small bear claw inside our Mazda Miata on the passenger side. It was below a small slash in the soft-top roof of the car. He had always thought that some vandal had knifed the roof, but that explanation never felt right to me. What a surprise to discover that a bear had caused this damage! We’re keeping the claw as a memento.

April 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm
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