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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 | 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

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

The Origins of Feathers

Bluebird

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 >>


August 2013 | Leave a comment

Owls: Custom-Made for Night Hunting

Great Horned Owl (Don Moseman)

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 >>



What Is a Species?

Song Sparrow

On a recent birding trip to Point Reyes, we ran across dozens of song sparrows—small, brown and white birds with a penchant for singing on the tops of bushes and fences. My friend, a decently experienced bird watcher, had trouble identifying them. When told they were song sparrows she said,... more >>


May 2013 | Leave a comment

Un-Discovering SF Bay: Hiking Sweeney Ridge from Sneath Lane

Hummingbird

I want to tell you about one of the last great places to see the Bay Area landscape as it might have looked a few months prior to European discovery in the fall of 1769: shortgrass prairies and coastal scrub, native habitats with very little disturbance.

Ironically, the ridge now known... more >>


April 2013 | Leave a comment

The Elusive, Mystifying Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

“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 >>


March 2013 | 4 Comments | Leave a comment

 

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