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The Glamorous, Fabulous Ferruginous Hawk

Adult Ferruginous Hawk, photo by Walter Kitundu

“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 >>


February 2014 | Leave a comment

Coot Boon on Rodeo Lagoon!

American Coots (Ingrid Taylor)

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 >>


January 2014 | Leave a comment

The Smaller Winged Creatures Flying Through the Headlands

Variegated meadowhawk (Chris Heaivilin)

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 >>


December 2013 | Leave a comment

Park Quiz: Bones of Contention

Bones of Contention

In honor of Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we’ve got a bone to pick with you. Put on your thinking (skull)cap and see how many of these skeletal remains you can identify—of animals found in the Golden Gate... more >>


November 2013 | 14 Comments | Leave a comment

Big Bird, Little Bird: Size and Identifying Sex of Raptors

Northern Harriers

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 >>


November 2013 | Leave a comment

Golden Gate Selected for the 2014 National Geographic BioBlitz

Black-tailed deer (Jessica Weinberg)

National Geographic and the National Park Service have partnered to conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the NPS Centennial in 2016. For 24 hours, volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members try to find and identify as many... more >>


October 2013 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

Fresh Tracks: GGRO Continues Innovative Raptor Monitoring

New color band (Abernathy)

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 >>


October 2013 | Leave a comment

Rapturous Raptors: Insider Tips on Watching the Fall Migration

Hawk demo (Jessica Weinberg)

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 >>


September 2013 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

The Speedy Swifts: Living Up to Their Name

White-throated Swift (Dave Kutilek)

Undoubtedly, the best place in California to view migrating raptors is Hawk Hill. Hoping to view some impressive birds of prey, you grab your binoculars and head up to the hill. While you are scanning the skies for hawks, a cloud of tiny birds zooms into view, filling your binocular... more >>


September 2013 | Leave a comment

Twitter 1.0: Dissecting Five Types of Bird “Tweets”

Marsh Wren (Dave Freund)

Most of us are aware that birds frequently vocalize. Some might find the sounds inspiring and soothing (scientific studies have shown that birdsong tends to make humans feel relaxed), or bothersome (a pesky house sparrow that begins bleating outside your bedroom window before dawn). Some sounds are distinctive (most people... more >>


September 2013 | Leave a comment

 

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