Bicker Island



Bicker Island


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Bicker Island is a small uninhabited island located about 2 kilometres south of the town of Seal Bay in the Municipality of Wellington County, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The island is composed of low limestone cliffs, interspersed with stunted black spruce trees, with a sparse cover of cottongrass.

Bicker Island


The first European known to sight the island was Étienne Brûlé in 1610.

On October 25, 1791, Lieutenant James Cook passed close by the island on his way southward along Newfoundland’s coast. On November 12 of that year, he anchored with his crew off Seal Bay and discovered Bicker Island lying close beneath a steep cliff face. He named it after Joseph Bicker (1698-1765), Secretary at War to his Majesty King George III.

In the 19th century, seals and whales were abundant in this area, as was landlocked salmon farming. The stone axe used by Cook on Bicker Island has been exposed twice in recent years: from Vancouver Island (on what is now Mount Douglas Forest Discovery Centre) during an earthquake; and once again at Seal Bay LiDAR Site 571B (an abandoned quarry).


Bicker Island Climate

The climate of the island is classified as a maritime subarctic climate, with cold winters and cool to warm summers. Bicker Island is part of the Avalon Peninsula Important Bird Area. There are over a dozen species of land and water birds that can be found on the island. These include Canada goose, common loon, northern harrier, eastern phoebe, red-throated loon, ring-billed gulls and white-headed sea eagles.


The island is uninhabited and there is no public access. However, a regularly scheduled helicopter service from April to October is offered by the Municipality of New Harbour.

The island has been designated as an Area of Particular Significance under Canada’s federal “Migratory Birds Convention Act”. This action aims to preserve the bird and marine life that is unique to Bicker Island, including the endangered Penhalluric gull.


The Municipality of New Harbour is the only municipality on Bicker Island. The island has a mayor and six councillors. The mayor is elected every four years to a three-year term. It can be recalled at any time by the vote of eight councillors (two from each township). Bicker Island does not have its own school, but New Harbour District School provides educational services for children in that area. However there is an active non-profit organization called Friends of Bicker Island School with many dedicated volunteers who spend their free time raising funds and encouraging community involvement volunteering as coaches, support staff and student leaders to help ensure that children are having a meaningful experience while in school.

Government Services

There are no government services available on the island. The northern half of the island was transferred from New Harbour in 1996. Until 2015, Bicker Island had a population peak of 21 people. It has never exceeded 25 people since that time and currently stands at ten individuals with nine retaining their own property including individual homes, cabins (cottages)

and an abandoned school building known as JLC which The Friends Of School leases each summer while they use it to host programs on natural history and conservation .

There are a few landowner related services. The Bicker Island Tele Service Communications Incorporated (BICKTel) is a community owned and operated telecommunications company providing telephone service to islanders, as well as Dominion Cable TV’s satellite with programming from CBC/TV1 over the airwaves or via terrestrial antennae for cable subscribers on mainland NMB County.


There is limited tourism on the island. The Friends of Bicker Island School offer programs in natural history and conservation each summer as well as a small number of day visitors who enjoy visiting the abandoned school building called JLC Bicker Island has been depicted on several maps by the Canadian government as far back as 1828, when it was called English Rock. At one time there was an average of 8-9 boats per month visiting, but that fell to just three in afterwards including Canada’s longest remaining wooden boat (a rescue boat).


There is no public transport available on the island. There are only a few private motorboats that can be chartered for day trips and overnight stays. The island is two hours of travel to the nearest airport, located in Bridgetown Newfoundland.


The cuisine on Bicker Island is very similar to that of the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador, with a few notable dishes unique to the island. The most popular dish is salt cod soup, which can be found at most restaurants on the island. A popular phenomenon on Bicker Island is the annual “eel run”. Each fall, after the last weir has been opened to fish in preparation for winter. The largest eels swim up a nearby river called “The Gully” where they can be scooped out and caught by any local fisherman who lives near its mouth in English Rock (Bicker’s main settlement area) or at Kearney Cove just outside of JLC’s service area.


Bicker Island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including moose, caribou, beavers, and deer. There are also many bird species that can be seen in the area including loons and bald eagles. There are no bears as they have never been found on the island. There is also a healthy population of foxes, although most people believe that there are still coyotes present in greater numbers.


Bicker Island is a small and uninhabited island located in the middle of the Great Bicker Lake. The island is a popular spot for fishing and bird watching, as it features an abundance of waterfowl. However, the island’s real attraction is its unique vegetation. The island’s trees are all descendants of a single seed that was dropped by a plane that crashed on the island in 1944.


  1. What Is The Climate Like On The Bicker Isles?

The climate on the islands is warm, partially due to their proximity to the equator. The islands have a moderate temperature range, with temperatures ranging from below freezing in winter to over 30 degrees Celsius in summer. The weather can be unpredictable – sometimes it can be very windy and cold, while other times it can be hot and humid.

  1. How Many People Live On The Islands?

There are currently 16 people living on Bicker Isles. They include lighthouse keeper Brian Clowes and his wife Molly, as well as their two young sons Anton and Oscar. There is also a man called Arthur who lives alone in one of the houses used by local shopkeepers.

  1. What Is Life Like For Those On The Bicker Isles?

Life has not been easy for these residents, but they have managed to make it through. The family spent a long period of time in the lighthouse before they decided to finally settle down there permanently. Arthur has been unable to find work, and currently lives off food intended for charity donors which he takes home on his bicycle every now and then.

  1. How Do You Get Here?

The Bicker Isles can only be reached by plane or boat; not by road! You need a pilot’s license if you want a plane ride, and to book an Antarctic cruise you need international insurance. The only ferry service currently runs from the Falkland Islands twice per month during the summer fishing season – so if that doesn’t appeal make sure you check first!

  1. Are There Any Shops Or Supermarkets On These Islands?

Local shopkeepers ship most of their goods via airfreight; however, they sometimes also have local products for sale in their store as well .

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