Tag Archives: Animals in Berkeley

10 Berkeley animal stories you didn’t want to miss in 2015

March 31. Chicks approximately 18 days old. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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Berkeleyside reports many animal stories every year, and 2015 was no exception. Sometimes they are strange, such as the day in January when two boars’ heads popped up around town, or the night in June when a squirrel caused a massive power outage. Sometimes they are sad, like the time a couple hung up the body of a deer to make a point about off-leash dogs.

But, more often than not, they are heart-lifting and beautiful. This applies to all the wonderful stories created for us by wildlife photographer Elaine Miller Bond. In 2015, Miller Bond told us about the release of a golden eagle, a hummingbirds’ nest, jumping fish, and glorious clusters of monarch butterflies (a post that was shared more than 21,000 times on Facebook).

And the three-part tale, plus epilogue, by Leslie Smith, about the rescue of a neglected dog, dubbed the “barber’s dog,” was surely one of the most captivating stories of the year.

Below, we bring you 10 of our most widely read 2015 animal-related stories, presented in chronological order. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley teams help make Oakland Christmas Bird Count the biggest in the world

A Brown Pelican spotted during Golden Gate Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count. Photo: Alan Krakauer
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Emilie Strauss peered across Lake Anza and divided up the watery territory by species. “David is counting coots, Mark is doing mallards, who wants to do Pied-billed Grebes?” she called out.

It was just after dawn on Sunday, Dec. 20, and the rosy sky over the lake heralded a welcome break in the rain for the 75th annual Oakland Christmas Bird Count.

Sponsored by Golden Gate Audubon Society, the Oakland CBC covers a 15-square-mile circle that includes Berkeley and the Tilden Park area where Strauss and her team were counting. … Continue reading »

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First time observed: Hundreds of monarch butterflies cluster in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park

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CAPTION: Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in an ash tree in Aquatic Park. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond [LINK: www.elainemillerbond.com]]
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In late October, Berkeleyside received a tip that thousands of tiny fish were jumping in the waters of Aquatic Park.

Less than three weeks later, we received another “scoop” about the park that throngs of monarch butterflies were clustering in the trees.

I’d seen groups of monarchs in well-known gathering places, called “roosts” or “bivouacs,” in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. But I’d never heard of such a spectacle in Berkeley.

So I rushed the next morning to Aquatic Park, to the trees just east of the 14th hole of the disc-golf course, the site where the butterflies had purportedly been spotted. … Continue reading »

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Making a splash: Fish jumping in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park

Not a flying fish: This is a topsmelt, a common fish in our coastal estuaries. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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Dark clouds gathered last Tuesday morning, and many of us hoped for a storm. Yet, the not-so-still waters at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park didn’t roil from raindrops; they bubbled from thousands of small jumping fish.

According to Dr. Peter Moyle, Distinguished Professor Emeritus with the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, these little silver fish were juvenile topsmelt (Atheriopsis affinis). Full-size topsmelt can be as long as 14.5 inches. … Continue reading »

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Community

Berkeley couple takes death of fawn into own hands

Fawn. Photo: Christian Stauduhar
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Disclaimer: This article contains graphic photographs that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

A North Berkeley couple was distraught by the death of a fawn near their home on Thursday, and took matters into their own hands after failing, they said, to get a prompt response from city of Berkeley staff or officials.

Christian and Tara Stauduhar say they are convinced an off-leash dog killed the fawn, and say it’s not the first time off-leash dogs have caused problems in the area, on their property and at adjacent Glendale La Loma Park in northeast Berkeley. 

Christian Stauduhar told Berkeleyside, by email, that he woke up just before 7 a.m. Thursday to the sounds of “an animal screaming, a dog barking, and the dog owner yelling for his dog” at the park.

I went outside to investigate, and observed the dog running around on our property before returning to its screaming owner,” Stauduhar wrote. “I was unable to catch more than a glimpse of the owner, who was in the park, about a hundred yards away.”

Stauduhar then looked around for the animal he had heard in distress, and found a fawn on his property. The fawn was “wet around the neck and hind legs, but was able to turn its head to look at me, and was standing.” Stauduhar watched the animal from about 20 feet away for approximately 5 minutes, then went inside.

“The animal had clearly been attacked, but since it looked mobile, and because it is illegal to render aid to a wild animal in California, I left her to her recovery,” he wrote.

About an hour later, he went to check on the fawn and found that it dead. … Continue reading »

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Community

The story of a rescued barber’s dog: Epilogue

Michael, Jessica and Fergus. Photo: Sally Creevy
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In February this year, we published, in three parts, Leslie Smith’s compelling account of “the barber’s dog,” dubbed Fella. In the final part, Smith drove Fella to Colorado, to join a famed pit bull rescue program. Fella was renamed Fergus and, Smith wrote, “This is where the story of the barber’s dog ends.” But Smith — and Berkeleyside — had to know what happened next.  

By Leslie Smith

For nearly 15 months, the barber’s dog and I spent my lunch hour together. He would flirt from behind a chain link fence, and I would toss treats and reach in through the openings to pet him. Then, ColoRADogs swooped in for the rescue, delivering him from a cement lot in Oakland to his new life near the base of the Rocky Mountains.

On May 16, I boarded a plane bound for Denver and went to visit the dog I hadn’t seen since January. I think he remembered me? To be honest, it wasn’t one of those pup-goes-nuts-when-soldier-comes-home-from-war videos that go viral and end up on the homepage of CNN. It was more of a gradual recognition: Oh, hey. It’s… you.

Fergus took my unbridled affection like a champ. He even offered a wiggle and snort or two of his own, just to prove he was in the spirit of things. But out of the corner of my eye I watched him watch Jessica, his foster mom, as she toured me around the house. She pointed out his favorite spots, and he tracked her every move. I got to see his various beds and the drawer where his bully sticks are kept and the area in backyard where he first fell in love with his leggy foster sister, Panda. I saw that he was both adored and adoring.  … Continue reading »

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Goats swarm across road, stop traffic in Berkeley Hills

Goats still
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A herd of grass-munching goats swarmed across Cyclotron Road in the Berkeley Hills last week on the way to another plant-clearing mission below Blackberry Gate.

The goats are part of Berkeley Lab’s vegetation management plan to trim abundant grasslands and reduce fire hazards.

Read more about animals in Berkeley.

Berkeley Lab posted a video of the goats on the move to its Facebook page on June 12. The video was shot by Lab employee David Stein (while he was apparently listening to KQED radio!). It proved so popular that it has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook since then, helped no doubt by the fact that Berkeleyside reposted it to its Facebook page, and it was then picked up by other media, including NBC, CNN and the Huffington Post. (Watch the video below the fold.) … Continue reading »

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Squirrel causes power outage for 45,000 in East Bay

People in Cafe Tibet on University Avenue, near Milvia Street, sit by candlelight during a power outage, in Berkeley, on Monday, June 8, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Update, 10:35 p.m. A squirrel that scampered into a substation in El Cerrito caused the outage that deprived much of the East Bay of power for two and a half hours, according to PG&E.

J.D. Guidi, a PG&E spokesman, said the animal — which died — had impacted the equipment that triggered a massive power failure at 8:03 p.m., causing 45,000 people to be without electricity. Power was restored around 10:30 p.m. The affected cities included Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond and San Pablo.

Update: 10:25 p.m. Still no official word from PG&E on the cause of the power outage but people began reporting via Twitter around 10 p.m. that power was returning to various parts of Berkeley.

Original story: An estimated 45,000 people in Berkeley and the surrounding East Bay area experienced power outages Monday night, according to PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi at around 9:45 p.m.

Affected areas included parts of downtown and North Berkeley, South Berkeley, West Berkeley and the Elmwood, as well as areas of Oakland, Richmond, Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo.

Starting at around 10 p.m., reports began coming in via Twitter that power had been restored to much of the area.  … Continue reading »

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Real estate

New Berkeley Humane shelter plans approved

Project renderings of the proposed Berkeley Humane building on Ninth Street. Image: Noll & Tam Architects
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Berkeley Humane won approval last week to construct a new facility on Ninth Street, and the organization is hoping to get the community involved to help make the project a reality.

The city’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved the permit for the new building May 14 to allow demolition of the agency’s existing facility and future construction of a new 2-story, 13,211-square-foot replacement building at the same location, 2700 Ninth St. in West Berkeley. The permit was approved on consent, and neither board members nor members of the public discussed the project during the meeting.

The approval comes five years after a deadly fire destroyed most of the existing building, killing 15 cats. Since reopening in 2011, the nonprofit — officially named the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society Inc. — has operated out of only a small portion of the salvaged building. … Continue reading »

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Sweetness and light: Diary from a hummingbird’s nest

April 3: Hummingbird chicks begging for food. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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Have you ever had one of those days in which everything sparkles?

For me, that day was March 1. It was my first day out on my own, following a painful injury. It was the day I picked up and freed a pigeon, trapped in the dark corner of a café where I like to write. It was also the day when my friend showed me something I will never forget: a hummingbird’s nest.

I drove home, retrieved my camera, then returned an hour later to take photos of the nest. In fact, I returned more than a dozen times in March and April. Below are my favorite photos from the experience. … Continue reading »

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City acts after yellowjackets attack in Berkeley park

Aerial view of Codornices showing the location of the swarm of yellowjackets that attacked several people, and at least one dog, today. Photo: Carter Tomasi
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The city of Berkeley is taking action after what appears to be a swarm of yellowjackets attacked several people and at least one dog in Berkeley’s Codornices Park at around 10 a.m. today.

Local resident Mimi Abers needed to go to the hospital emergency room after what she described as a “vicious attack.”

“It was right up the hill from the playgrounds. There are a bunch of trees there and I think the yellowjackets nest in them,” she told Berkeleyside via email just before 3 p.m. “I’ve seen them before but never had as vicious an attack. I had multiple stings on my head and upper body. It must have been about 20. Anyone allergic to bees should avoid this area. It’s been five hours and I still have pain, but not as bad as the first three hours. One of the dogs I had who is black was also bitten, but not my white one.” … Continue reading »

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Community

Dead birds, 2 animal legs, wash up on Berkeley beach

This headless chicken and other animals and animal parts washed up Thursday on a Berkeley beach. Photo: Susi Jensen
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A woman on a walk along the beach in Berkeley with her dog on Thursday came across two decapitated chickens, two skinned mammal legs with cloven hooves, and several dead shorebirds.

Susi Jensen, a Berkeley writer, said it isn’t unusual to see a dead carcass on the beach. But she described the number and kind of animal parts she saw Thursday morning as “unexpected.”

“The shoreline is imperfect, but we enjoy it for what it is,” she said. “This time it was a little grosser than normal.”

Jensen was walking her golden retriever, Luna, on the beach along the San Francisco Bay Trail. The trail runs along West Frontage Road between University and Ashby avenues in Berkeley and continues into Emeryville.  … Continue reading »

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The barber’s dog: Kindness of strangers ends the tale

photo credit Melani Schweder
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This is the third and final part of the barber’s dog story. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Leslie Smith volunteers at the Berkeley Animal Shelter. One day she stumbles upon a Fella. He’s filthy, smelly, and appears to be neglected. Smith starts visiting the dog in her lunch-hours, playing with him through the chain-link fence and bringing him treats. Her ministrations are noticed, and, eventually, she is asked if she wants to take Fella home. Smith can’t bring Fella to her own home so sets out to try to find someone who can. Read more about the shelter in past Berkeleyside coverage.

By Leslie Smith

Oakland, a week before Christmas. The wind is insane and the sky spews giant marbles we’re supposed to believe are raindrops. All I can think of is the barber’s dog, seeking cover under the truck or crouched at the back of his door-less doghouse, no bedding or insulation of any kind. My only solace is knowing that this miserable stretch for him has an expiration date.

I call him the barber’s dog because he lives on a cement lot next door to a barbershop, but if you want to get technical, Fella doesn’t belong to the barber. The owner of the shop — a young woman — rents the space from the dog’s legal owner, a man who doesn’t even live in Oakland. It’s through her that I leave notes for this absent guardian, offering to walk his dog or drop off flea powder. And she’s the one, back in September, who gives me the only message I’ve ever gotten back: “You can have Fella if you want him.”

I want him badly, but my house is at capacity, animal-wise. So the search is on.

It’s early December when Nancy emails, asking if I’m still looking for a home or group to take the barber’s dog. Nancy runs one of the most highly-regarded pit bull-focused rescue and advocacy organizations in the nation — ColoRADogs — out of Fort Collins, Colorado. We’d met in person only a couple of times, but she’d been following his story. … Continue reading »

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