Tag Archives: Berkeley wildlife
This weekend, hundreds of bird enthusiasts flocked to a quiet southside Berkeley neighborhood to catch a glimpse of a beautiful North American breeding bird that has never before been sighted in Alameda County.
The colorful Painted Redstart was still in the Elmwood neighborhood this morning, flitting between three large trees located on three adjacent streets.
Richmond-based graphic designer Lory Poulson, who came to the neighborhood with her partner Susan Gluck to investigate, said they heard the warbler before they saw it.
“It has a distinctive call that sounds like ‘too weet’ with the emphasis on the ‘weet,’” she said using her binoculars to scan a large birch tree on Lewiston Street where the pair had seen the Redstart just before 10 a.m.
The story started Wednesday last week when Katie Bertsche, a scientific illustrator who lives on Prince Street, spotted a flash of bright red in a poplar tree while sitting on her deck. … Continue reading »
[Editor's Note: Several local neighborhood groups have been buzzing recently about problems around their homes related to wildlife. One local resident, Phil Price, offered these tips based on experiences he and his wife, Juliet Lamont, have had in North Berkeley.]
By Phil Price
A few people in recent weeks have mentioned deer depredations and other issues with birds and wildlife causing problems with landscaping. My wife and I have a lot of experience with these issues.
About 15 years ago we removed all of the ivy, Himalayan blackberry and Algerian ivy that made up the understory of our backyard, and replaced it all with native plants. … Continue reading »
Wild turkeys are part and parcel of daily life in the city of Berkeley. Berkeleyside receives regular updates from our readers of sightings. Sometimes the birds come in pairs, sometimes in large flocks — rarely alone. And, it seems, there is nowhere they will not deign to roam. This past week we have received photos of turkeys on a traffic circle, on a roof, even at the doors of City Hall.
Hikers, runners, and bicyclists along Tilden Park’s popular Skyline Trail have been greeted by something new in the past several days: a large, white poster-board sign scribbled with an unusual warning.
“Rattlesnakes seen on this trail — use caution,” says the handwritten sign, mounted on an A-frame style roadblock on Upper Springs Trail where it cuts down from Skyline, dropping steeply to South Park Drive.
To many aficionados of the East Bay’s extensive network of trails, rattlesnake warnings might not seem unusual. Snake sightings in say, Black Diamond Mines or Sibley Volcanic Preserve are common, say naturalists at the East Bay Regional Park District, which manages both areas, as well as Tilden Park.
And occasional rattlesnake bites are reported in these drier, warmer areas, including one last year, said Emily Hopkins, public information officer for the park district.
But Tilden is another matter.
“I’ve been here 18 years, and personally, I’ve seen only one rattlesnake myself,” said Bill Kaminski, acting supervisor of Tilden. “They are here. But very infrequently do people run into them, or report them to us.” … Continue reading »
A wide variety of shorebirds winter in the San Francisco Bay waters, and in Berkeley in particular. A few, like the whimbrel (a type of curlew), migrate from as far away as the Arctic. Elaine Miller Bond, whose work on local wildlife we have been delighted to publish before, recently spent time photographing shorebirds at the Berkeley and Emeryville tidal zones and mudflats in the company of Rusty Scalf, a teacher and trip leader for the Audubon Society.
According to Scalf, these shorebirds have “high odometer readings.” Yet, for foraging, they rely heavily on the fragile, narrow, often muddy habitat between dry land and water — a zone that is increasingly imperiled by global climate change.
Here, we publish a selection of Miller Bond’s gorgeous photos with extended captions written by her describing the birds and their habits. … Continue reading »
On Wednesday, author and photographer Elaine Miller Bond captured this shot of an amazing spectacle down at the Berkeley Marina.
“There were many hundreds, probably thousands, of seabirds (mostly cormorants) flocked together, feeding on the water,” she said. “Within minutes, the entire flock had taken flight and landed here, on the old pilings at the far end of the Berkeley Pier. Though we humans no longer use these derelict planks, birds can certainly be seen, ‘sitting on the dock of the bay.’” … Continue reading »
We admit we are suckers for these adorable birds, so when regular Neil Mishalov sent us these two gorgeous pics, it didn’t take long to decide to share them with you, even though it was barely two weeks ago that we published another photo of this beautiful bird.
News of these special birds is spreading. New York Magazine recently included a visit to spot the burrowing owls as an “Insider’s Tip” in its Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan to Berkeley story. (They also recommended checking out Berkeleyside’s Nosh for East Bay food news, a point we couldn’t disagree with.) … Continue reading »
It’s not just us humans who get romantic around Valentine’s Day. Have you heard of newt love? UC Botanical Garden director and zoologist Paul Licht is intimately familiar with the mating habits of the two newt species – Taricha torosa (California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt) – that become amorous at this time of year. And it’s quite a sight (watch video, above).
According to the Botanical Garden, these small, dark-skinned amphibians hide in the underbrush and are rarely seen by humans, but, once the rains come, scores of them gravitate to the crystal-clear waters of the Japanese Pool. (Perhaps using the famous newt crossing in Tilden Park to get there.) … Continue reading »
Residents in the Berkeley hills are on the lookout for a doe that appears to be wandering around with an arrow sticking out of her torso.
Young-Eun Choi , who lives on Campus Drive, spotted the wounded and weakened deer Wednesday morning and took some photos of her eating.
“The head of the arrow had gone through the body but the tail of the arrow was still on the opposite side, leaving the arrow stuck in the deer,” Choi’s husband, Yun S. Song, a professor of computer science and statistics at UC Berkeley, said in an email sent to neighbors. “Although not focused, the photos clearly show the red/white tail of the arrow. The doe was still alive, but moving very slowly, obviously in great pain. Moreover, it had a fawn following it. Unfortunately we cannot locate where they are at present.” … Continue reading »
Ann O’Brien was visiting from Iowa when she spotted what she thought was a coyote sunning itself on a deck in north Berkeley on Thursday. Clearly, the local wildlife is feeling comfortable in the urban environment — some would say making itself a little too much at home. Here at Berkeleyside, we’re not naturalists enough to provide a definitive identification of the animal. Is it a coyote or a fox? Let us know. … Continue reading »
Violent crime has been decreasing in Berkeley in recent years — that is, when the perpetrators in question are humans. Wildlife is another matter. Two Berkeleyside readers recently reported incidents of deer charging at pedestrians in the Berkeley hills in late May. Animal Services confirms there have been multiple cases.
On May 29, a deer charged several times at a hiker at the intersection of Oak Path and Oak Street, said Berkeley Path Wanderers Association President Keith Skinner. The deer left the scene only when another person and a dog arrived.
The victim of the attack “called Animal Control and was told to avoid the area for the next few months, but it doesn’t seem that the city is taking any other precautionary steps to alert people,” wrote Skinner in an email to Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »
Citizen reporter Gisele Frazão Teixeira shot these photos yesterday at the Berkeley Marina of a Blue Heron spying, catching, and flying away with its prey. Never let it be said that Berkeley isn’t a wildlife enthusiast’s nirvana.
Berkeley owl chick will soon branch out says expert [04.26.12]
Photos: Baby owl on Berkeley trail is growing up fast [04.19.12]
In Tilden Park’s Jewel Lake: Spotting a rare river otter [04.05.12]
Berkeley owl … Continue reading »
The owl chick that has been drawing crowds of fascinated adults and children to Berkeley’s Claremont Canyon trail, where its parents made a nest in a Eucalyptus tree some weeks ago, will soon began to “branch out” and explore its surroundings before making its first flight, says Doug Bell, Wildlife Progam Manager at East Bay Regional Parks.
Great Horned Owls are unusual among raptors in that they go through this development phase which involves “branching”, namely scrambling around nearby branches using a particular legs and wings action. The explorations can get the chicks into trouble, said Bell, as they might get clumsy and fall out of the tree.
Bell urges people who are visiting the Claremont trail to keep their distance and be respectful of the owls and their chick. “We would encourage people to give them space and to keep their dogs on leash,” he said. … Continue reading »