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The Bay Area is home to the biggest migration site for hawks, eagles, kites, falcons, harriers, and vultures—collectively known as raptors—in the Pacific States.
“Raptors migrate?” you might ask.
They do! Or rather, some do. We see Osprey and Peregrine Falcons each autumn that may be winging their way to the far... more >>
“Boy, I’d love to see a ferrug right now!”
This is one of the most often-spoken statements by hawkwatch volunteers at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO), and understandably so.
The Ferruginous Hawk (known as the “ferrug” in hawkwatcher short-hand) is so... more >>
On any given winter day, you might see over a dozen species of water birds in Rodeo Lagoon (ducks making up only a small proportion of these)—not to mention all sorts of interesting songbirds and mammals.
The most abundant species in the lagoon right now is the American Coot (Fulica americana).... more >>
Odonates are dragonflies and damselflies that are associated with water. As flying adults, they are carnivorous that prey on other insects. Their name comes from the Greek word odṓn meaning “tooth”—even though it is now known that their strong mandibles (jaws) do not have teeth but rather serrations.
Dragonflies are fairly... more >>
When observing animal species, the sexes often can be determined by noting differences in coloration, size, features, and even behavior. For example, male elk grow antlers, while females do not; in lions, the males have a mane, and the females do not. Among higher vertebrates, one manifestation of this “sexual... more >>
Movements of Red-tailed Hawks/Peregrine Falcons with GSM
During the fall season, GGRO will continue its study of raptor movements utilizing GSM transmitters, which combine GPS and cell phone technologies to “text” researchers the tagged hawk’s locations. Because they are solar-powered, the units have the potential to last several years. They are... more >>
Although Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) volunteer hawkwatchers have been happily counting hawks since mid-August from their usual perch, the hawks really start pouring through in mid-September. So now is a perfect time to plan your trip to visit Hawk Hill—just across the Golden Gate Bridge!
The best raptor hours are... more >>
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a great place to see birds. You can see the largest migration of raptors in western North America in the Marin Headlands, find spotted owls in Muir Woods, or see shorebirds at Lands End (to name just a few).
Arguably, the quintessential part of... more >>
Recently, during a hike on one of northern California’s beautiful trails, I found a tail feather from a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). It was a long wing feather—mottled shades of white and brown and covered in fuzz, a signature of many owl species.
The feather was an interesting reminder of... more >>
“Harrier!” exclaimed my co-intern, Heather, pointing at a hawk skimming down the hillside.
I looked up as it passed, its long wings carrying it on an unwavering glide. I had no idea how to identify this raptor. “It has that patch of white at the base of its tail, just like... more >>