With the rainy season upon us, California tiger salamanders will soon emerge from the depths of squirrel and gopher burrows in grasslands and oak savannas to breed in freshwater ponds. The reclusive amphibians will travel over a mile in search … Read more
In one of the most environmentally degraded places on the eastern shore of San Francisco, you would not expect to see harbor seals, cormorants, numerous shorebirds, and snakes and lizards hiding in discarded debris. But after a year of gazing … Read more
This summer, a new exhibit in San Francisco’s Presidio celebrates one of the world’s most diverse urban bird habitats. From July 9 through August 29, “Birds of the Pacific Slope: Sights and Songs” fills the galleries of the Presidio Officers’ … Read more
At the sight of a diving juvenile Cooper’s hawk, “the squirrel reared back and opened its mouth with its paws raised in the air in a defensive pose,” notes Jim Brulet while monitoring a nest in the city of Berkeley. … Read more
What do you get when you scoop up 250,000 cubic yards of muck from the Petaluma River? Prime shorebird habitat, of course. Unlikely as it may seem, Shollenberger Park is a place where birders have spotted 150 bird species, from nesting avocets and stilts to harriers and egrets. And a new addition to the park will make it one of the largest publicly accessible stretches of wetlands in the Bay Area.
On May 1, the California Academy of Sciences will open its new (temporary) doors at 875 Howard Street in downtown San Francisco. As it rebuilds its Golden Gate Park location, more than 85 percent of the animals from the permanent … Read more
The Mount Diablo Audubon Society’s 51st annual Christmas Bird Count, which took place on December 14, 2003, benefited from sunnier weather and better visibility than the previous year. About 60 volunteer bird counters spotted more than 51,000 birds representing 148 … Read more
Birds will again be studied—and celebrated—at the International Migratory Bird Day festival at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, May 8, in Alviso (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The free event will include naturalist-led bird … Read more
All around the Bay Area in spring, herons and egrets begin their annual transformation from mostly solitary top predators to birds gathered in crowded breeding colonies. Local photographer Philip Greene has spent years following the whole subtle and spectacular process by which these large birds break down their resistance to social communion: the changing color of bills and legs, the growth of flowing nuptial plumage, and the complex gestures and dances that make up the fine art of getting to know one another.
A million years ago, in a climate much like ours today, the land around an ancestral bay teemed with large animals: mammoths and saber-tooth cats; bears, horses, and peccaries. By 300 years ago, the mammoths were gone, but grizzlies, elk, condor, and pronghorn were abundant.European settlers wiped out many of those animals, but programs to reintroduce some of them are now under way. Which raises the question: What should a healthy, native megafauna look like now?