Rare bluebird sightings bring happiness in a Berkeley park

by on August 08, 2012

 
Rarely spotted in cities, western bluebirds require cavities in which to nest and large, irrigated lawns, like athletic fields, which teem with worms and insects. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
 

 
 

On the Map

 

Birds are singing. Children are laughing and playing in patches of sunlight. And I am strolling through large fields of grass here at Berkeley’s San Pablo Park, aiming my camera at flocks of finches, sparrows — anything with wings — looking for flashes of sapphire blue.

“Are you here for the bluebirds?” asks a friendly father, lifting his gaze from his daughter’s stroller. Only one pair of bluebirds has moved into this popular neighborhood park, but they are well known and well loved.

“In 20 years, I can think, maybe twice, of when I ran into western bluebirds in a town like Berkeley,” says Rusty Scalf, a tall, red-headed birdwatcher known in city circles as the “Bluebird Guy.” In fact, he is a trip leader for the Audubon Society and an expert at spotting and identifying birds.

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Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently owned local news site.

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