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Fresh Tracks: GGRO Continues Innovative Raptor Monitoring

New color band (Abernathy)

In addition to our annual hawkwatch, banding, and radiotelemetry programs, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory has launched several new research projects to further understand raptor movements and health. Read on to discover how you can help! more >>

October 2013 | Leave a comment

Rapturous Raptors: Insider Tips on Watching the Fall Migration

Hawk demo (Jessica Weinberg)

From now through November, 19 species of birds of prey will be making their annual appearance over the Marin Headlands. With tens of thousands of raptors counted during the fall migration, it’s the largest flight of its kind in the western U.S.! Read on for raptor-watching tips. more >>

September 2013 | Leave a comment

Twitter 1.0: Dissecting Five Types of Bird “Tweets”

Marsh Wren (Dave Freund)

To humans, bird vocalizations can be inspiring and soothing—or annoying, in the case of those early morning arias. But for birds, they perform critical communication functions. Read on to learn about five types of vocalizations, and what they teach us about birds’ surroundings. more >>

September 2013 | Leave a comment

The Speedy Swifts: Living Up to Their Name

White-throated Swift (Dave Kutilek)

Hawk Hill isn’t just a spot for watching raptors. In the fall, visitors who point their binoculars at smaller birds might be treated to the aerial acrobatics of migrating swifts. Learn more about these amazing—and mysterious—insectivores. more >>

September 2013 | Leave a comment

The Origins of Feathers


Feathers are a uniquely avian adaptation—or are they? While feathers can only be seen on birds today, evidence has shown that many dinosaurs also had feathers. Read on to learn about the variety—and possible purposes—of dinosaur feathers. more >>

August 2013 | Leave a comment

Owls: Custom-Made for Night Hunting

Great Horned Owl (Don Moseman)

The trailside discovery of a Great Horned Owl tail feather sparked this rumination: What are some of the many adaptations that make owls such proficient hunters in the dark, quiet night? Take wing and learn more about their unique traits. more >>

What Is a Species?

Song Sparrow

Even Charles Darwin, the preeminent biologist, had trouble defining a species. The more we learn, the harder it gets. Life does not always supply black-and-white categories—which can impact how we conserve and protect the species around us. more >>

May 2013 | Leave a comment

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


It seems remarkable that we can pinpoint an exact date—November 4, 1769—when Europeans first caught sight of San Francisco Bay. Afterward, nothing would ever quite be the same, ecologically or anthropologically, in this grand watershed. Or would it? more >>

April 2013 | Leave a comment

The Elusive, Mystifying Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

Follow the trials and triumphs of a Golden Gate Raptor Observatory intern, as told through several encounters with a particularly mysterious species of raptor—the Northern Harrier. more >>

March 2013 | 5 Comments | Leave a comment

Who Says We Don’t Have Seasons?

Milagra Ridge (Mason Cummings)

If you are a longtime resident of the Bay Area or another temperate location, you have probably heard somebody complain about the “lack of seasons.” And while you might not be able to make a snowman here, winter can still be experienced in our parks. What are the signs of the season? more >>

January 2013 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment


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