Tag Archives: Berkeley wildlife
A rare burrowing owl was found dead recently at Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park, raising some concern in the community.
Local resident Heidi Sachs saw the dead bird on a bench during her run at the Berkeley Marina on Sunday and shared the news with Berkeleyside.
“Really sad for me to think about,” she said, adding, “a passer-by mentioned a puncture wound on the owl’s head.”
On Friday, Earth Island Institute’s nonprofit Urban Bird Foundation released a statement about the discovery of the dead owl. The group said it received a report about the carcass Thursday night.
According to the Urban Bird Foundation, the bird was placed on a bench and puncture wounds could be seen on its body. But the group said it did not recover the carcass itself to verify those reports.
Carolyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District, said it is hard to know exactly where the bird was killed, but noted it could have died on EBRPD property, at Cesar Chavez Park, or nearby. Its cause of death, however, remains a mystery.
“The owl could have been killed by a feral cat, another raptor (hawks will go after burrowing owls, for example), or another predator,” Jones said by email. “Feral cats are a problem at several East Bay parks.” … Continue reading »
Last November, Berkeleyside published an article about a spectacular natural phenomenon seen in Berkeley for the first time: hundreds of monarch butterflies were clustering in the trees of Aquatic Park.
This fall, thoughtful reader and independent gardener Toni Cox wrote to Berkeleyside, requesting that we create a new article about monarchs.
In particular, Cox noted that these beloved, once ubiquitous butterflies are “struggling” — that a decision on whether monarchs will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act will occur by 2019.
Here in California, numbers of overwintering monarch butterflies have seen an approximate decline of 74% since the late 1990s, according to Emma Pelton, Conservation Biologist for the Xerces Society and its Endangered Species Program. … Continue reading »
“You never know when it’s going to take off,” says Elaine Miller Bond, pointing her camera up at a red-tailed hawk perched on a power-line in Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park. “It could be 30 seconds, could be 45 minutes, could be never.”
At that exact moment, the hawk spreads its wings and swoops towards the ground before ascending, as Miller Bond pans her camera and clicks dozens of photos in rapid succession.
As a wildlife photographer, Miller Bond has spent over a decade peering at animals through her lens — from hummingbirds to black bears —waiting to capture the perfect moment. Many of her stunning images and accompanying essays have been published exclusively by Berkeleyside. Now, Heyday Books, the nonprofit publisher based in Berkeley, is publishing her first children’s board book, Running Wild, which features her wildlife photography alongside verbs that explore how animals move.
At her book launch party on Monday, Oct. 3, at Books Inc. in North Berkeley, Miller Bond will describe the behind-the-scenes making of the book, and answer questions about her creative process. … Continue reading »
At least three cats have been killed in the past couple of weeks, most likely by a coyote, in the Northbrae neighborhood of Berkeley. Footage of one the attacks was caught on a resident’s video surveillance camera.
Residents who have lost cats are understandably upset, and those whose cats roam around outside at night are concerned for their safety.
Berkeley Animal Care Services told Berkeleyside it had picked up several dead cats in the last four months that have been attacked by coyotes. They worked to confirm that information with the Lindsay Wildlife Experience. (Scroll to the bottom to read an update with comments from an expert at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience.) … Continue reading »
A deer leapt into the King Middle School swimming pool Thursday morning, narrowly avoiding landing on young children taking a swimming lesson there, according to a pool staffer.
The deer ran across the pool deck and jumped into the deep end, said Jasper Solomon, a lifeguard at the pool, who said the children, around 3-6 years old, were attending a summer camp swim class. Solomon and his boss, Adonis Boyd, both leapt into action as soon as the fawn landed, he said. They asked everyone to leave the pool and then, using a lifejacket and a floater as buffers, they steered the animal to the shallow end. The fawn then scrambled out of the water and ran away.
Solomon said the incident surprised the kids, but that fortunately nobody was hurt. He described the deer as small and male, probably a fawn.
“The kids got a kick out of all the excitement!” Jeff Johnston, whose son was part of the swim class, wrote us. … Continue reading »
By Rubi Abrams
Newly retired from a fulfilling career as a community college librarian last year, I was ready to plunge into as many birding activities as I could schedule. Birding-related travel, classes, meetups, speaker series, feeder watch, bird counts – the more the better, and most sponsored by Golden Gate Audubon Society. But I was also eager to use my professional skills. I was itching to be a citizen scientist, to have a “conservation conversation” in my community.
Remembering the delightful young adult novel Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, I was inspired to get involved with the GGAS Burrowing Owl docent project. In the novel two young boys embark on a campaign to save the burrowing owl colony in their Florida town from real-estate developers. Although not threatened by local developers, our local burrowing owl populations have declined steeply, and they are currently a federally listed Species of Management Concern and Species of Special Concern in California due to habitat disruption. Though protected, there is still plenty to do in educating the public about these delightful creatures. … Continue reading »
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 »
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.
Daniel McPartlan has visual proof that Berkeley deer are law-abiding deer, who follow the rules of the road.
While driving along Grizzly Peak Boulevard on his scooter after dark on Dec. 17, McPartlan witnessed not one, but three deer use a crosswalk to get from one side of the road to the other. He posted the footage that his on-board video camera shot of the incident to Twitter the following day, with the comment, “That’s right America, Berkeley deer use crosswalks.” (We liked that so much we stole it for our headline.) Watch the video, below. … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Reader Eric Cotts recently shared the photo above with us. It was taken on June 1, and shows a large number of goats on a hill near the Berkeley Lab. It inspired us to send our photo intern Melati Citrawireja to capture more images of the animals everyone seems to adore (see them below the fold).
While goats are commonly used to clear brush and grass in the East Bay (Berkeleyside has written about this use of goats for fire prevention), Cotts was not convinced the cloven-hoofed herd was there for such a benign reason. “I would not be so sanguine about the intent of these agile Bovidae,” he wrote us. … Continue reading »
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 »