Tag Archives: Golden Gate Audubon Society
The black cat named Totoro trained his bright yellow eyes on a Chestnut-backed Chickadee singing on a branch. The chickadee was only a few feet away. There was no windowpane between them. The cat could practically reach out and grab the bird.
The bird was safe.
Totoro was in his “catio” – an outdoor enclosure or patio designed to let house cats experience the sights and smells of the outdoor world, while keeping both birds and the cats themselves from harm.
“We have some of the happiest cats,” said Phil Price, a Golden Gate Audubon board member who built the North Berkeley catio where Totoro was sitting. “They love to come out, sniff the air, sleep in the sun, and watch people walking their dogs down the street.” … Continue reading »
By Ilana DeBare
The Oakland Christmas Bird Count set a new record on Sunday for number of species – thanks in part to a much-ballyhooed rare bird in a Berkeley backyard.
Over 230 birders fanned out across Oakland, Berkeley and other nearby towns in Golden Gate Audubon’s 73rd annual Christmas Bird Count , or CBC as it’s known.
Some started as early as 2 a.m. looking for owls. By sundown, they had counted a preliminary total of 184 species, breaking last year’s record of 183. … Continue reading »
If you live near Claremont Canyon and hear unusual activity at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, rest assured that it’s a group of birders out owling.
The early-morning owl spotting will kick off a busy day for local birders, engaged in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas bird count, run by the Golden Gate Audubon Society. Berkeley is included in the 74th Oakland bird count, which encompasses a 15-mile diameter circle from Treasure Island, to the San Pablo Reservoir, to St. Mary’s College to the Oakland airport. All of Berkeley is included in the count circle. The count typically records more than 170 species. … Continue reading »
Last year, Rusty Scalf, teacher and trip leader for the Audubon Society, introduced me to a family of western bluebirds living and nesting in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park. This year, Scalf called me back. Apparently, a “mad man” had flown onto the bluebird scene.
“He’s like a Rambo,” Scalf said. “A worm bandit… a total behavioral outlier.” “He,” the bluebird shown above, was a fledgling, a few weeks old, which undertook intensive hunting forays across the park. He even “mugged” a house sparrow and competed with his parents, beak-to-beak, for insects and worms — food he delivered to his younger brother and two sisters in the nest.
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 »
By Ilana DeBare
Maureen Lahiff treks across the UC campus every weekday for her job as a public health lecturer.
Last Sunday, she made that trek again but saw the campus in a whole new light – as a place brimming with birds.
Lahiff was among 200 volunteers taking part in the 72nd annual Oakland Christmas Bird Count, run by the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
Part of a national Audubon tradition, the Oakland count covers a 177-square mile circle that stretches north to Point Isabel and south to the Oakland Airport. Five of the count’s 29 teams were assigned to sections of Berkeley, including the waterfront, Claremont Canyon, Tilden Park, UC, and central Berkeley. … Continue reading »
By Ilana DeBare
As a child, Aimée Baldwin spent Saturday mornings learning about the wildlife of Tilden Park in its junior ranger program.
Now her own wildlife is about to be displayed there.
Baldwin, 36, is a Berkeley artist who specializes in what she calls “vegan taxidermy” – extraordinarily lifelike sculptures of birds made by hand from crepe paper, wire and Styrofoam.
On Thursday May 10th, her work will be exhibited at the Brazilian Room, in the center of her old Tilden haunts. The one-night show is part of a silent auction and dinner to benefit Golden Gate Audubon Society, the local Audubon chapter covering San Francisco, Berkeley and neighboring communities.
“Bird people really appreciate what I do and all the effort I put into making things realistic, versus people who can’t tell the difference,” Baldwin said. … Continue reading »
By Ilana DeBare
Most people go to Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina to walk dogs, fly kites or stroll kids.
Karen Smith goes to monitor owls.
Smith is one of about a dozen volunteer docents from Golden Gate Audubon Society who help passersby spot and learn about the small population of Western burrowing owls who spend each winter at the marina.
This year, five owls have been documented – two in the area set off from pedestrians by a new owl-friendly art installation and three in other parts of the marina. The small ground-dwelling birds spend much of the day sitting alertly near their burrows, astonishingly close to all those humans with dogs, kites and strollers. … Continue reading »