Home to grasslands, woodlands, sand dunes, saltwater and freshwater wetlands, and many other unique ecosystems, the San Francisco Bay Area supports a wide variety of endemic bird species. It is also an important stop on the migratory pathway for birds known as the Pacific Flyway. The Golden Gate Audubon Society, local chapter of the National Audubon, is dedicated to preserving these native birds and other wildlife. They celebrated 100 years of efforts in 2017.
Living in urban areas poses a unique challenge for struggling North American bird species - of which at least one quarter are at risk. Habitat loss caused by a multitude of factors such as rising sea levels, invasive species, and land development greatly decreases the nesting locations for the near 350 species that spend part of their lives here throughout the year. The buildings themselves are threats to birds, with nearly one billion birds dying each year from collisions. Irresponsible recreation and pet ownership is also a factor, as birds may experience undue stress or be disrupted by animal and human disturbances.
Advocacy and Outreach
Thanks to the work of Golden Gate Audubon, Oakland and San Francisco have adopted bird safe building requirements that will help prevent bird collisions. They advocate for responsible pet ownership, such as indoor-only cats, to reduce the number of avian mortalities. Golden Gate Audubon Society also works with arborist societies and independent contractors to provide training on seasonal tree trimming, how to spot a nest, and how to follow proper protocols and laws.
Grassroots ConservationFounded in 1917, Golden Gate Audubon Society partners with land management organizations, local schools, and city planning staff to keep the Bay Area a safe and healthy place for birds. They use a reach of over 7,000 members to monitor threatened species, restore habitats, and educate the public on sharing urban space with wildlife. Docents and volunteers spend time monitoring species like the Burrowing Owl, collecting data on the birds’ activities, as well as educating the public about the unique species.EducationGolden Gate Audubon Society works with disadvantaged schools in East Oakland, North Richmond, and Southeast San Francisco to provide classes on local habitats and ecosystems, both in classrooms and on field trips. Classes of many subjects are also provided to adults for a small fee. Together, Golden Gate Audubon Society conducts over 150 field trips per year. A Speaker Series featuring biologists, researchers, photographers, and others is hosted monthly in either San Francisco or Berkeley.
The Zoo has fully embraced the efforts of Golden Gate Audubon and their work with birds. We support the project through:
Quarters for Conservation: Golden Gate Audubon was selected as a 2015-2016 featured project, focusing on their efforts to protect Burrowing Owls.Outreach and EducationThe Zoo aims to use our immense access to the public to help wildlife, like local bird species. Information about GGA and what a person can do to help birds is included in special event days, docent tours, classes and lectures.Staff and On-site Help: Oakland Zoo has set up a support team for Golden Gate Audubon’s Heron Patrol project.