Posts Tagged ‘Birds’

Learn about Birds and Save their Habitat with Golden Gate Audubon Society!

by | February 2nd, 2016

Q: What did the baby Burrowing Owl’s parents say when he wanted to go to a party in Oakland?

A: You’re not “owl’d” enough.

Seriously! Did you know Burrowing Owls (BUOW) are the only North American raptor that nests underground and may brood 4–12 eggs at a time? Mom BUOW incubates the eggs for three to four weeks while dad brings her food. After the eggs hatch, both parents feed the chicks. The owlets fledge four weeks later and can make short flights (to Oakland, if allowed!).

My Little Cutie

Dad BUOW is also pretty smart. Instead of flying around looking for insects to feed his babies, he lays cow dung around the nest’s “front door”, which attracts insects. Dad hides just inside the front door and pops out to grab an unsuspecting insect.

Are you curious about the Burrowing Owls as well as other Bay Area imperiled birds? Oakland Zoo and Golden Gate Audubon Society are offering a special opportunity to learn more about these Bay Area birds.

DSCN2692 Black-Crowned Night Heron in Oakland in coy pose by Cindy Margulis
On Saturday, February 20, Oakland Zoo Staff, Interns, and Volunteers will partner with Golden Gate Audubon for an hour of habitat restoration. Afterwards, attendees will be treated to a bird walk with an opportunity to view some imperiled birds, including Burrowing Owls. This FREE event will take place in the morning at Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline, Oakland (time to be determined). Contact Kyla Balfour at to register.

Keep Your Eye to the Sky

by | April 17th, 2010

Barn Swallow, Photo credit Jason Loy

By Jason Loy, Animal Keeper at Oakland Zoo

Have you ever looked up in the sky, seen a flock of birds flying overhead and wondered where they were going? Perhaps they were headed south for the winter and to warmer climates, flying northward in the spring, preparing to find a mate, or merely looking for the day’s meal. Whatever the case may be, witnessing a flock of birds soaring by is always a sight to behold and there is no better day to celebrate this fact then on International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD).

Based around the second Saturday of May each year (this year it will take place on the 8th), IMBD is a celebration across the Americas of the nearly 350 migratory bird species that grace our skies and the conservation efforts that support them. Since its creation in 1993 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, IMBD continues to grow with an estimated 500 reported events occurring in 2007 and hundreds of thousands of people participating nationwide. Organized currently by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Division of Migratory Bird Management, this day consists of all of the different activities and ways birds are observed and cherished. Everything from bird walks and counts, fairs and festivals put on by local organizations, photo contests, kids games, habitat restoration projects and cleanups, and live music and performances can be considered as a part of the celebration.

Black Phoebe, Photo credit Jason Loy

Each year has a different theme for IMBD and the theme for this year is “The Power of Partnerships”, which highlights the partnerships that allow bird conservation programs to be successful. For example, the Oakland Zoo partners with bird-friendly organizations like the American Bird Conservancy and the Ventana Wildlife Society, which do great work and research to make the lives of birds better.

The Oakland Zoo is also a great place to view different native and migrating birds. Not only does the zoo have quite a number of different species, there were also an estimated 47 different wild species seen within the zoo grounds and surrounding areas during last year’s Christmas Bird Count. With everything from hawks and turkeys to hummingbirds and warblers, the Oakland Zoo continues to be an excellent habitat for birds.

For more information and to find other events near you, head to online, or check out one of the other links below.


An Urban Layover for Birds: MLK Jr. Shoreline

by | March 22nd, 2010

Squeezed between the Oakland International Airport and the Coliseum lies one of the best kept secrets of the bay – the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park , a birding hot spot. I had no idea.

Luckily, my eyes were opened this week on a guided hike with Golden Gate Audubon Society volunteer Cindy Margulis. What previously seemed like a pleasant marshy area to me was transformed into a beautiful and fascinating oasis for local wildlife.