Bay Nature

Our Favorite Bay Nature Stories of 2019

December 19, 2019

We published more than 150 stories in print and online this year. We look forward to 2020 and our 20th year of publishing, but before we do, here’s a look back at seven of our particular favorite stories from 2019.

Acorn Woodpeckers in Five Acts

reaching for woodpeckers
Illustration by Christopher Reiger

Fall 2019

Acorn woodpeckers have remarkably complex social lives. In their cooperation, conflict, and struggles for control, writer Marissa Ortega-Welch finds something that reads a lot like Shakespeare.

Voracious Flowers of the Tidepool

giant green anemone
Photo by Allison J. Gong

August 2019

Sea anemones might look like delicate flowers, blooming on tidepool rocks. Don’t be fooled, writes naturalist Allison J. Gong — these are supremely effective carnivores.

A Time of Reckoning

pistachio trees
Photo by Jonno Rattman

Summer 2019

What happens to the Central Valley when it’s too hot for agriculture? Investigative journalist Mark Schapiro looks at what farmers are doing to meet the future.

How to See Insects

flower weevil
Photo by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

May 2019

They’re fascinating creatures, miniature works of art, and critical links in the web of life. “Bugs,” writes scientific illustrator Rachel Diaz-Bastin, are so much more than pests.

Bird Savant

John Robinson
Photo by Robert Houser

Spring 2019

John Robinson has 20/15 vision and perfect auditory recall. But as writer Jeremy Miller finds, Robinson has dedicated his life to the idea that anyone can learn to bird.

How Do People Know About Nature?

man reading in meadow
Photo by Ben White,

January 2019

Western science and indigenous knowledge are often presented as conflicting. But, writes José González, there are areas where they converge.

There are So Many Scorpions

western forest scorpion
Photo by Tony Iwane

Winter 2019

The Bay Area’s most common species is smaller than your pinkie, has a sting milder than a honeybee’s, and is so shy it only hunts on moonless nights — and even then is most often seen running away. Writer Brendan Buhler follows arachnologist Lauren Esposito into the woods on a moonless night in search of our lovely local scorpions.

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