Tag Archives: Berkeley wildlife
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 »
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 »
Last September, while working on an article for Berkeleyside, I took a short trip to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. My mission there was purely amphibious: to photograph western toads that the museum keeps on display.
The toads were cute, for sure.
But soon, my experience turned from amphibious to serendipitous.
For I was the lucky photographer who happened to be at the museum when a golden eagle was brought through its doors. … Continue reading »
For a long time, I’ve wanted to write an article on frogs for Berkeleyside. In fact, my first “kiss” came from a frog in Tilden Park. It jumped to my lips as I drank water from a fountain on a scorching-hot day at summer camp.
But that was the 1970s. Frogs were more common then. Loud throaty choruses of Pacific treefrogs kept me awake (in a good way) on spring nights, and tiny tadpoles wiggled through the algae-laden waters of a ditch along my street in Kensington. … Continue reading »
On Oct. 1, a new law went into effect in Berkeley that prohibits the feeding of wild animals in city parks and other public spaces. Enforcement brings with it minimum fines of $100 after an initial warning period, and up to $500 for multiple infractions within a year.
The ordinance applies to the feeding of all wildlife, but was conceived in response to an outcry earlier this year when the city said it would exterminate ground squirrels at César Chávez Park. This was to address Regional Water Quality Control Board concerns that squirrel burrows might be causing toxics underneath the park to leach into the bay, and thus present a threat to the landfill cap.
New ‘No Feeding Wildlife’ signs and educational brochures have been placed at César Chávez Park. … Continue reading »
A hummingbird whirrs by, as a squirrel flicks its tail, flirting. A robin fluffs its feathers after bathing in the stream. Leopard lilies, columbines, even the cacti are in full summery bloom. But today, at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park, we’re here for the butterflies.
Alan Kaplan, an entomologist, educator, and retired Tilden Park ranger, meets me at the garden’s gate, where, already, I have spotted maybe five different types of butterfly, from a teensy so-called “blue” to a glamorous pipevine swallowtail.
Still, there are rules for counting butterflies in nature. So Kaplan gives me the rundown of the day’s event — the Fourth of July Butterfly Count (currently run by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) — held for its fortieth continuous year in Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Not long ago, Berkeleyside reader Patrick Hickey kindly sent in a photo of a beautiful bird of prey, perched on a tall building near his home in downtown Berkeley. I had my own suspicions (and sense of elation) over what kind of bird it might be. Then Rusty Scalf, teacher and trip leader for the Golden Gate Audubon Society, confirmed it: the bird was a peregrine falcon — the fastest animal on Earth. In California, not long ago, it was also one of the most endangered. … Continue reading »
A city animal control officer rescued an injured crow Thursday afternoon after it got tangled in a piece of string and stuck in a tree 40 feet off the ground in West Berkeley.
Workers in an office building called the city Thursday at roughly 2:10 p.m. after noticing the bird struggling but unable to take flight, said John Kindle, an animal control officer for the city.
The Berkeley Fire Department responded to the scene, at 700 Heinz St., along with Kindle, to assess the situation.
When Kindle arrived, he used binoculars to take a closer look. He saw the crow high up in the tree with what appeared to be string tied to a branch and wrapped around one of its claws. … Continue reading »
“Why are there so many darn crows in Berkeley these days?”
We get that question a lot at Berkeleyside, and Golden Gate Audubon gets it too.
It’s not just Berkeley. Crows are on the increase throughout the Bay Area, as are their larger and deeper-voiced cousins, ravens.
Back in the 1980s, Golden Gate Audubon members typically found between 30 and 90 American Crows each year in our Oakland Christmas Bird Count, which includes Berkeley. We typically found fewer than ten Common Ravens.
Since 2010, however, the count has turned up over 1,100 crows and 170 to 300 ravens each year. … Continue reading »
By April Rose Sommer
Much to the relief of wildlife lovers, the Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to delay its pilot program to exterminate ground squirrels at César Chávez Park.
The city had generated broad outcry earlier this year when it announced plans to trap and kill park squirrels as a means to address Regional Water Quality Control Board concerns that squirrel burrows might cause toxics underneath the park to leach into the bay.
But on Tuesday, the Council put the extermination plan on hold and directed the City Manager to report back in two months with a plan and a response to the many questions raised by citizens, councilmembers, and environmental and animal rights organizations, including Golden Gate Audubon.
Councilman Kriss Worthington led the efforts for a reconsideration of the extermination pilot program and Councilwoman Linda Maio was careful to stress that the pilot program would not go forward until the council had revisited the issue. Councilman Max Anderson waxed poetic about how the park used to be filled with raptors, the squirrels’ natural predators, and recommended that there be an effort to draw these birds back to the park, while Councilman Gordon Wozniak complained that there are too many squirrels. … Continue reading »
In Berkeley, squirrels are in the cross fire.
In an attempt to make sure no toxins leak out of the old landfill under Cesar Chavez Park and leach into San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is hiring a pest control company to trap and kill hundreds of squirrels and gophers that make their home there.
It seems that when the squirrels and gophers do what comes naturally—digging holes or tunneling in the ground—they are getting perilously close to the clay cap that covers the landfill. If the rodents penetrate that barrier, dangerous toxins like gasoline, lead, iron, herbicides and pesticides, could leach into the bay. So the city needs to reduce the animal population to lessen the risk, according to city spokesman Matthai Chakko. … Continue reading »