Jul 1, 2004 | Marmot, Summer 2005

The Wild Side of Mount Washington

Who has’t been amazed at the sight of someone standing patiently on the outdoor patio at Fat Teddy’s while a Whiskey Jack saucily perches on an outstretched hand, accepting a snack.

Or stopping for a picnic only to have one of these ‘camp robbers’ snatch a delicacy from your picnic basket?

The Whiskey Jack (or Gray Jay, as it is also known) isn’t the only wildlife to be found at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. One day Resort President Peter Gibson put a crock pot out on the second-storey deck at what was then his home in the Alpine Village. “There was a roast in the pot,” he said. Suddenly, he spotted three small, dog-like creatures that at first he thought were wolverines, chomping on the roast. “I thought I’d found wolverines; I was excited, because they’re supposed to be extinct.” However, they weren’t wolverines, although Gibson can’t recall what they were. “I haven’t seen them since I lived on the hill, but they’re still around,” he said. “There are pine martens, too,” he added.

Here are some other birds and wildlife one can expect to see at Mount Washington:


Staff at the Marmot Recovery Centre at Mount Washington are excited with the news that a new litter, possibly two, has been born in the wild. This is positive news for a species facing extinction .

Black Bears

Bears are a common sight on the roadside of Strathcona Parkway during the spring and early summer. Many local tourists make the drive up to the main lodge just to see if they can spot a bear.


“You won’t see a cougar, you won’t see a wolf, but they are there,” Gibson said.

Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles

Majestic when they are soaring high above the trees, the eagles are also a threat to baby marmots and other small creatures.


“The raven is very much a part of the mountain,” Gibson said. “You get that sound at night that’s like a cluck-cluck-cluck.” Raven Lodge was also named for the mystical creature.


Rufus Hummingbirds are prevalent in the meadows during late June and July, helping to pollinate wildflowers.


Squirrels are sometimes spotted among the trees around the Mount Washington buildings.


Often heard before they are seen, woodpeckers tap into dead trees for their supper.

White-tailed Ptarmigan

Strathcona Park is home to a small number of Vancouver Island white-tailed ptarmigan. A mottled lichen color in the summer and white in the winter, the ptarmigan nests in the alpine under shrubs and have been spotted near the peaks of Mount Washington and Mount Albert Edward.


White-tailed deer can often be seen munching on the vegetation on the side of the road in the lower elevations, and may surprise a hiker or two in the alpine meadows. Sasquatch Well, the jury’s still out on this cryptozoological creature, but rumor has it he’s been prowling around Paradise Meadows!

More from this Issue