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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

A Hawkwatcher’s View of the New Hawk Hill

Hawk in flight (Walter Kitundu)

A year ago, Monterey pines and Monterey cypresses were removed from Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands to restore endangered mission blue butterfly habitat. How did this affect the birds during fall migration? more >>

January 2013 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

My Friend, the Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

We fear them not because they would kill us, but because their mere company means we may already be dead. Our imagination conjures a thirsty miner, crawling across the desert, exhaling a last gasp, and—poof!—he is theirs. Here’s an alternate view of vultures. more >>

December 2012 | 2 Comments | Leave a comment

Broadwing Bonanza on Hawk Hill

Broadwing Hawks

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. Aside from these impressive numbers, why is this exciting? more >>

November 2012 | 2 Comments | Leave a comment

Exploding the Myth of the Raptor Peak Week

Exploding the Myth of the Raptor Peak Week

The fall raptor season is upon us, and that means Peak Week is coming quickly. What is Peak Week, you ask? Peak Week is the mini-season of absolute high-count, high-banding days each year at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. more >>

September 2012 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

It's "Awww"gust: Baby Season in the Parks


With cute baby animals out and about, now’s a great time to explore your Golden National Parks. Click to see a slideshow of some of the parks’ budding young stars, and then gather up your own little ones for an “awww”-some park adventure. more >>

August 2012 | 3 Comments | Leave a comment


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