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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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
“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 >>
Maybe you grew up in Southern California and wonder if you’ve ever truly experienced “autumn.” Palm tree fronds don’t change colors, after all. The truth is that there is a lot more to seasonal change than a palette shift. And although we may not have a white holiday approaching, there... more >>
I wrote an earlier article on the background of the Hawk Hill restoration issue and its ecological intricacies (December 2011 Park E-ventures article), but here I wanted to address the big question that I heard only a few hundred times this autumn: what happened to the hawks as a... more >>
It has been said vultures are cleansers of the environment, or that they are symbols of motherhood for their ability to make life from death. But I say that Turkey Vultures are, above all else, loyal. They are the truest friend, at least to other vultures, because being a Turkey... more >>
On September 27, 2012, on Hawk Hill, we counted 295 Broad-winged Hawk sightings, 10 times our previous one-day count for that species. We even exceeded our season-total record—248 sightings—in just that one day. Why is this exciting?
Broad-winged Hawks are soaring hawks that nest throughout the eastern broad-leafed forests. They do... more >>
This season, the GGRO is able to use brand-new technology to help us track bird movements. On Friday, August 23 we put out a GSM (cell phone) transmitter on a female juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, nicknamed Augusta. This device utilizes a GPS device, similar to a hand-held or car GPS unit,... more >>
Throughout the 1980s–90s, the GGRO Peak Week—that is, the seven-day stretch that contained the highest hawk count days of the year—truly happened in a week (or roughly a week). In those not-so-ancient times, we recorded highest count days as early as September 15 (569 sightings in 1987) and as late... more >>