Letter: Urban creatures seem to be doing just fine

Re: Bowker and Cadboro Bay trees vital to Community, Oak Bay News, March 8

Re: Bowker and Cadboro Bay trees vital to Community, Oak Bay News, March 8

I challenge Terri Hunter to justify her alarmist claims about owls and trees, in your March 8 issue.

Spotted owls have been found nesting on restaurant signs and in underpasses. Why? Because food is available, the same reason Coopers hawks are in the city here – the rodents and squirrels Ms. Hunter is concerned about.

Eco-activists don’t give critters nearly enough credit for being good at living their life.

Garry oaks are usually supplanted by Douglas fir, as happened in Metchosin.

(They might do better here if the climate continues to warm, as this is the northern limit of their viable range – they are common in Oregon (where they are often called Oregon white oak), northern California is the southern limit of their viable range.) Many Garry oaks are still here because tribal people felled some with fire to great meadows, to increase production of food like camas lilies and deer, and maintained the meadows with fire which suppressed growth of competing species.

People here plant trees.

Trees grow (quickly here on the wet coast), and eventually die of old age (sometimes sooner due to rot disease, or splitting in a hot summer).

What wildlife need corridors that Ms. Hunter is concerned about?

Owls fly well so can move, she doesn’t want rats and squirrels, slugs don’t move far, deer do fine on streets. I doubt there are many rabbits around, especially with all the untrained dogs about. There are a few quail but they seem to manage crossing streets (often not spotted as they are in grass). Coyotes may be in bush as they are in Burnaby and South Vancouver – not in the row of trees Hunter is concerned about (I don’t know if if there are coyotes on Vancouver Island). The odd cougar shows up in Oak Bay, very few bears (they prefer fruit trees and bushes with berries, plus garbage cans).

Eco-activists have a negative view of humans.



Keith Sketchley