Owl sets up home on Berkeley trail, dog owners on alert

An owl that has made its nest in a Eucalyptus tree on a Claremont Canyon fire trail is swooping on dogs. Photo: Andy Fremder

Berkeleysider Andy Fremder took this fabulous photograph of an owl that has made its nest in the crotch of a Eucalyptus tree on the Claremont Canyon fire trail. The same spot was claimed a couple of years ago by a family of owls.

Park rangers are asking that dogs be kept on leash on the section of the trail close to the nest. One hiker even claims the bird is swooping down on smaller varieties of canines.

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  • Rob S. – Rockridge

    That thing swooped my 80 lb golden retriever!

  • Matt Eccles

    it also swooped down on my 115 lb dog. 

  • Dan Brekke

    When it’s swooping, it’s swooping to defend its turf, not make a meal of doubtlessly tasty Berkeley dogflesh. If you’re walking a small cat, however, a great horned owl might be interested in inviting it to dinner. 

  • Rifleman

    I was walking my 8 lb maltese-yorkie. This owl swooped down on him, grabbed him, and went up 50 feet in the air. I had to use my old Winchester Sidearm to bring it down. Two shots. Dog landed safely in my arms. Whew.

  • Rocky

    It’s Spring.  There are undoubtedly eggs or maybe even babies in the nest.  Owl is protecting its nest, doesn’t want a canine supper.

  • Eddpao

    ….A winchester is not a sidearm, it’s a rifle….rifleman.

  • Eddpao

    That would be”Winchester”

  • Tim

    There were some chicken hens reported on the Meadows Canyon trail this weekend too..maybe liberated from the Little Farm?

  • Ms. Lilly

    Never get too close to a Mama’s nest–all threats, real or perceived, and the intruding creatures pay the price.  Just remember Home Depot’s outdoor nursery section in the spring:  the dive-bombing, “attack” red winged blackbirds bombarding humans invading “their” territory.  Perhaps the bird’s monologue, prior to the female AND then the “fight or flight” hormones take over goes something like this: “How dare these large monsters (humans, dogs, etc.) intrude on MY SPACE!!!  I’ll get them!!! Get away from my home!!!”    Sound familiar?  Ever seen, or been, a human mother when there’s a threat to your baby or home?   I have.  Same response as the Great Horned Owl, only I had no talens.

  • Anonymous

     I hope it would leave the dogs and take the dog owners.

  • Michelle

    Beautiful owl!

  • Alina77149

    Interesting how the title was changed to “Owl swoops on dogs on Berkeley hiking trail” in SF Gate.

  • KMG000

    Just look at that photo.  It’s like the owl is daring anyone to start some  !@#$.  “You got something to say to me?  Go on.  Make my owl-y day.”   (Seriously, I love this photo)

  • joan winnek

    On avian matters: a couple of days ago we had five wild turkeys in our backyard near the North Berkeley Library. Any other sightings? I’ve seen them in Danville, and heard of them in Albany.

  • Dan Brekke

    Not recently–have seen them in years past over at the King school garden. Will be on the lookout now, though. 

  • Durelleali

    Hold up…there are folks walking the Fire Trail carrying fire-power???

  • Durelleali

    In this context, the significant difference between the human mother and the Great Horned Owl is that the owl would be allowed the “ignorance of the law” defense….

  • Cammy

    I agree!

  • Markh

    The papa owl hangs out in an adjacent tree while the mama sits on the nest (or vice versa). It was the presumptive papa who swooped on my two Husky mixes, the day after it grabbed a large German Shepherd by the scruff of the neck. We now take the upper access off Stonewall to grant the owls some peace.

  • 100 Blague

    I see them often, early in the morning, in the grassy area near Little Farm in Tilden Park. They also sometimes roost in the trees by the turn-around circle.

    More urban: a flock seem to hang out in a large yard at the top of Cedar Street, where it intersects La Loma.

  • punaise

     methinks the gentleman doth snarketh.

  • Perrypawo

    I’m just over the Albany-Berkeley line here…  there are many evenings I hear the distant calls of barn owls, and the recent unseasonable weather seems to have brought them out even further…  I suspect these are the sounds of these very owls…

      Example of sound here:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsd3H67Tn_E

  • Mom

    Stopped by to take a look at the owl yesterday.  5 dogs off-leash, 0 dogs on-leash heading up the hill, despite the signage.  Generally I don’t think dog owners are jerks, but really.  The signs should be larger and say “DOGS ON LEASH TO TOP OF HILL”.