I sometimes write to a friend and give her wildlife reports from out west. Most often I send her a bear report, as this friend and I met at Banff and were morbidly fascinated with the bear terror that skulks about the place every so often. While at Banff I did a lot of hiking with three other writers and we’d sing, laugh, talk, shout the whole time we were in the woods – we heeded the advice the park wardens gave at our introduction to wildlife session. Sadly, during our stay at Banff, a cyclist out for an afternoon spin was dragged from her bike and killed. This, of course, ratcheted up the general bear angst and added a certain frisson to our hikes (as well as a few more bells and cans of bear spray to our back packs). But as the bears around here are taking siesta – apparently they don’t really hibernate fully- today I emailed Helen not with a bear report, but with a birdish report. Driving home this morning, from my sister’s on the north of Vancouver Island, I saw 13 bald eagles with bad ass attitude, perched on a tree. As I wrote to Helen, they looked slightly hungover and strangely unimpressive…kind of like teenagers hanging out at the mall, or worse, outside the liquor store. There was a dead deer on the highway and I think they were daring each other to swoop down and pick at it without being hit by a car… a game of eagle one might say… Anyway, the other wildlife note I wrote Helen, was the screech owl I heard at 6 a.m. as I was just waking up. Totally terrifying sound… kind of like a cat being shredded (sorry cat lovers… I’ve never heard a cat shredded but I think a screech owl cry breaking early morning might sound rather similar). Rather impressive. As for nice things under the tree. Somehow Santa stopped at Salt Press in the U.K. (one of my favourites) and picked up Alexander Hutchison’s Scales Dog. I shall now pour myself something nice and crack it open.What did Santa leave you?