A funny thing happened in 2000. And again in 2003. For the first and second time in recorded history, a southern resident killer whale entered the waters of Monterey Bay. With fewer than 80 remaining individuals, the southern resident orcas … Read more
West Nile Virus
Amid predictions that the West Nile virus will reach the Bay Area some time this summer, local health and pest control authorities are keeping a sharp eye out for mosquitoes carrying the disease. The first sign of the virus’ presence … Read more
Eye to Eye with Otters
Dubbed the cosmic center of the universe by locals, Elkhorn Slough is one of the richest wetlands along the California coast, a magnet for wildlife and humans alike. And the best way to see it all is in a kayak.
Do mockingbirds have their own specific song or are they mimicking other birds’ songs?
Northern mockingbirds, year-round residents of the Bay Area (having expanded their breeding range here after the arrival of European settlers), each develop their own songs. Similar to those of other songbirds, mockingbirds’ songs consist of a specific configuration of syllables … Read more
Why is Autumn a Good Time to See Raptors in the Bay Area? Where is Best?
For many birds, autumn is a flurry of eating and movement to find stuff to eat, before winter sets in. The same is true for raptors and their prey. In north temperate zones, many small birds fly south, and ground … Read more
Hidden Treasures of the Harbor
Below the opaque surface of the calm waters of Richmond and Sausalito Harbors lies an unexpected world of curious forms, brilliant colors, and furious competition for a place to hold on.
Do Any Bay Area Animals Hibernate in Winter?
Our temperate climate here in the Bay Area means that most inhabitants don’t have to hibernate. Hibernation is a form of adaptive hypothermia, a continuum of responses to climatic variations that allow an animal to save energy by temporarily abandoning … Read more
Fluke or Fixture
An increasing number of gray whales have been spotted in San Francisco Bay in recent years. Why are these aquatic giants venturing here now in greater numbers? Are they temporary refugees? Or are they adding a regular stop on their 10,000-mile-long migration route?
What’s the Buzz? Native Bees!
They don’t live in colonies, they rarely sting, and—if you plant natives—you might find some in your own backyard.
Sonar Testing and Gray Whales
In mid-November, a federal judge gave the U.S. Navy permission to test its Low-Frequency Array (LFA) sonar in the western Pacific Ocean. The system transmits sounds up to 215 decibels, approximately equivalent to the noise of an F-15 fighter jet … Read more