Journal

Urban wildlife in Berkeley and on campus

Berkeley, Monday August 19, 2019 10:20 PM

There are plenty of wildlife in Berkeley, which is great. Particularly, there are plenty of birds.

How has it come, and why? I am sure the answer is more complex than trees, but particularly for my orchestrated trip on campus, with birds singing on the trees it works.

One can truly design the landscape and the urban landscape. Those are simple ideas such as including in the street designs trees on the middle way and walkways. Their density should not have sticky because visibility is a key aspect for safety.Then one design parks and preserve forest where most of the wildlife happens, but here I am talking benefits of trees in the streets.

Their distance should be enough for the birds to find rest and feel safe to nest. Not only birds find refreshment within the trees, but the humans as well. Trees really cool down the temperature.

Lately, I have become either more sensitive to bird singings, and curious to find out where they are, and luckily as well that they always show up, even if I do not carry food. It can be the time of the year as well.

Hummingbirds have been nesting in the tree 3 meters north from my window at home. While crows are everywhere, they come in almost daily basis to the tree in front of home. There is one or some, I think its “name” is Northern Mockingbird, which are often flying fast across the street.

Ring-billed Gulls are often flying time, that one can see from the window.

At work on campus, a bushtit, I thing its it name, use to come often to office. A pair of juncos sometimes come inside, but they always go to the tree next to the office.

On campus, as soon as one pass by the Li Ka Shing Center, the amount of birds increases all the way up to Wurster, where there plenty, particularly in the space between the art buildings and it.

In addition to the prior mentioned, on the daily trips, one can listen and see white-crowned sparrows, mourning doves, and American Robins.

I have been luckily to see the Red Tailed Hawk twice in the last week, while passing the Eucalyptus Grove, and today I saw she flying while I was nearby Haas. The hawk was flying on the downstream direction from Strawberry Creek canyon, and passed above the point the point I stopped, when I listened his/her singing. Last Friday, a peregrine falcon stood on Wurster Hall’s nine floor sunshades of the South Tower, in the backyard side. Of course I went downstairs from the four floor, where I work, to the backyard, to observe who was the bird which singing with that particular sound. It is the same as the hawks. I saw the peregrine falcon standing as I said in the 9th floor sunshades. Its offspring was in the closest redwood at the east of Wurster. After few minutes the peregrine falcon decided to fly, likely for hunting some food to bring to her juvenile child. I say peregrine falcon, because its back before it flied was bluish, and its face as well. Where as red-tailed hawk, I could identify for it more gray plumage, and its characteristic red-tail, which is evident when they are flying. Both are spectacular birds. They bring as sense of respect just by their presence.

College avenue, all the way down to Chabot Rd has as well plenty of trees, and with life on them. But it is not just there, it is almost everywhere in Berkeley.

Regarding terrestrial “wildlife”, then that is more campus. There are plenty of squirrels, and I have not seen them on sidewalks of side of campus, of course there will be dangerous from them. The ones that I mainly see are between the Faculty Glade and Wurster Hall. They are mainly around Morrison Hall, but elsewhere on campus as well. Among the interesting aspects, I think it was 10 days ago, six baby squirrels came to the branches of the Oak tree at the Faculty Glade, just next to the Morrison Hall, as I was biking and stopped in the walk path.

There is a squirrel living in the area between Morrison Hall and Wurster that has three legs and not tail as a result of an accident. A witness not of the accident but of the squirrel condition just after it said that it was about three years ago. Anyways, that squirrel is strong and fantastic. As all many of the others, she has learned to stand on the two legs either for asking for food, as either as their natural way of eating as well. She is fast on climbing the trips and chasing or playing with other squirrel. She still manages to use her front broken arm to help to hold the nuts. Anyways, that squirrel might have thought that I have some food, or just was wanting to say hi. It came and stand up on the two legs as I was on the South side of Morrison Hall, later climbed the tree that is there came by through a branch.

If one leave campus a bit late, about 9 PM or 10 PM, there are now two skunks. They are beautiful, though of course not that friendly, neither oneself ones to get that close. A spraying would be terrible. About a month and half ago I saw a Raccoon.

Two deers were grazing in the area between Valley Life Sciences Building and Moffitt. They stayed there peacefully, as I did not bother them. I just stopped, on my way home, it was about 11 PM or a bit later. I think that deers come downhill to campus during the nights. I do not if that is in a daily basis, or when it was more quiet, like during summer.

About two months ago, a Great Blue Heron, which was standing on a kind of steel arc into the bay, nearby Point Emery, flew, after about 30 seconds I was observing it. It is a beautiful gigantic bird. I was biking by the frontage road to Emeryville.

In March, I observed ducks at Lake Merritt, which I think their names are Mallard and American Coot. There were other birds as well that I think they are Egret and Black Necked Stilt.

I recall those, because on August 4, two ducks were flying over campus. Those are at at high elevation. I guess they were migrating from Lake Merritt or somewhere in the South, to another Northern Lake. However, beyond calling them ducks, I do not know which specie they were.

I forgot about the Rock Pigeons, which sometimes show up walking on Walnut St. If the following terminology is correct, pigeons are terrestrial or ground feeders.

As I said there are plenty of wildlife around campus, beautiful to listen, and to stop to observe if hopefully one is not in a hurry. Something that I think are exceptions that happens over Summer or on Sundays. But will see what happens next. After having discovering all of these, I think one is more likely to pay more attention to the wildlife in a daily basis.

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