January 01, 2008 by David Lukas
Meander through an oak woodland, or even a wooded suburban area, on a winter day, and you’re likely to experience something strange about our winter woodland songbirds: You may not see them at all. Then suddenly the trees come alive with dozens of birds of several species.
January 01, 2008 by Gray Brechin
On a trail at Mount Tamalpais or Diablo, perfectly set stone steps make an ascent easier; farther along, a massive log bridge crosses a rugged ravine. It’s common to pass by and take these structures, and those who made them, for granted. This spring marks the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose epic New Deal work projects brought us not only dams and bay fill but also enduring public trails and other park infrastructure that thousands of people use today with little knowledge of their origins and the great nationwide social experiment that built them.
January 01, 2008 by Kathleen M. Wong
Ask most people to name the most important species of our grassland habitats, and they’ll probably pick coyotes, golden eagles, or even rattlesnakes. But experts say that the strongest contender of all is the animal eaten by all those other ones: the lowly California ground squirrel, a true keystone of local grasslands. Belowground, the squirrels’ lengthy burrows harbor insects, snakes, owls, and even frogs and salamanders that couldn’t live in such a dry landscape without the squirrels’ help. And above-ground, they’ve evolved some unusual defenses that allow them to thrive, even as they feed so many others.