Bears have been spotted knocking over fences and scavenging through garbage in Ottawa's west end, and it's making some residents nervous.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has had about 20 calls for bear sightings in west-Ottawa over the last week. It's believed there are three bears in the area-- a yearling, as well as a mother and her young cub.

In Bells Corners, a black bear knocked down Laura Sandvold's bird feeder and broke apart part of her deck.

"I have two children and I have a dog and I back onto the green space and obviously I'm concerned about having any interaction with the bear," Sandvold told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.

"It's a concern, what if I went outside in my backyard to pull some weeds and I turn around and there's a bear there? Obviously, I don't want to hurt the bear and the bear probably doesn't want to hurt me, but I don't know what might happen and I'm worried someone will be injured."

Sandvold's neighbour snapped a photo of a big black bear snacking on a bird feeder on Evergreen Drive in Bells Corners on Monday.

There have also been two bear sightings near Bell High School -- the most recent on Monday. Now, high school students are being advised to travel in groups.

"We're in the midst of putting together a fact sheet just in case they come into contact with a bear," said high school principal Bruce Whitehead.

Meantime, residents are being advised to remove anything from outside that might attract a bear, including bird feeders, pet food and even green bins.

If you come into contact with a bear it's best not to run, but rather walk away slowly.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr