Most people go to Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina to walk dogs, fly kites or stroll kids. Karen Smith goes to monitor owls.
Smith is one of about a dozen volunteer docents from Golden Gate Audubon Society who help passersby spot and learn about the small population of Western burrowing owls who spend each winter at the marina.
This year, five owls have been documented – three along the north bank of Cesar Chavez Park, and two in the area set off from pedestrians by a new owl-friendly art installation. The small ground-dwelling birds spend much of the day sitting alertly near their burrows, astonishingly close to all those humans with dogs, kites and strollers.
“Everyone has the same gasp – ‘Oh, they are so wonderful!’ – when they see them for the first time,” said Smith ….