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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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>