Bridge Lake Area Wildlife

The Interior Plateau with its diversity of lakes, streams, riparian areas, meadows and mixed forests provides habitat for many species of wildlife. Moose, Mule deer, occasional Elk and an increasing number of White-tailed deer browse the marshes, grasslands and transition zones. Black bears forage on grasses, roots, and berries, with marmots, ground squirrels and scavenged road kill giving variety to their omnivorous diet.

Foxes and coyotes frequent both wild and residential neighbourhoods hunting mice, voles, varied hare, grouse and other small creatures, as well as berries in season. American badgers can still be seen near Columbian ground squirrel and Yellow-bellied marmot colonies. Chipmunks and Red squirrels sustain themselves on seeds from cones and grasses, berries and handouts from residents while keeping a wary eye out for weasels and marten.

Moose Red fox Black bear

During the winter, Cougar, Lynx and Timber wolves wander through the area following the deer. Along the lakes and streams live Beaver, Mink, Muskrats and the ever-playful River otters.

The sheltered bays of large lakes, and marshy ponds attract many species of waterfowl including Mallards, Goldeneye, Common Merganzers, and several species of Grebes. Great Blue Herons fish the shallows and Sandhill Cranes can often be seen in the more secluded fields and open marshes. Bonaparte’s Gulls nest at Bridge Lake, as do Herring Gulls and Black Terns. Spring and Autumn migrations bring many species not seen at other times of year, including flocks of Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, Surf Scoters and American Coots.

Common loon Male rufous hummingbird Cedar waxwing

Local Birder Wendy Marshall reports Bald-headed Eagles, Ospreys, Red-tailed Hawks and Merlins. Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse are commonly seen.

During spring migrations, swallows, two kinds of hummingbirds, thrushes, tanagers and various finches pass through or stay to nest, as well as swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, jays, warblers, sparrows, flycatchers and several woodpeckers. In winter, Pygmy Owls, Great Greys and Western Barred Owls may be spotted at dawn and dusk.

Winter restricts reptiles and amphibians to just a few hardy species of toads, frogs, the long-toed salamander and an occasional Gartersnake. The lake itself is perhaps best known for its abundant Lake Trout, but it contains 9 fish species in total (old reports of a possible 10th, Arctic Char, have since been discounted). Two species especially popular with anglers - Rainbow Trout and Kokanee - are augmented from time to time by stocking from hatcheries.