By Ilana DeBare
On the road again… to Oakland!
After a month’s hiatus for Birdathon, Golden Gate Audubon Society’s traveling Centennial exhibit has returned to public view, now at Oakland’s City Hall complex.
The main Centennial exhibit of 14 colorful panels is open during business hours in the lobby of the city’s Dalziel Building until July 7. In addition, we have a photo exhibit of Oakland and Alameda wildlife on the third floor of City Hall, just outside the City Council Chambers.
If you haven’t had a chance to view the exhibit yet, come by and bring a friend! You can expand your visit into a full morning or afternoon outing by adding a mini-field trip — strolling over to the nesting colony of Black-crowned Night-Herons and Snowy Egrets just a few blocks away.
Although the bulk of breeding season is past, you should still be able to see nesting herons and egrets — some with a second clutch if they lost their first — through the middle of June. Golden Gate Audubon volunteers have been monitoring the trees for fallen young herons, and we are partnering with Oakland Zoo and International Bird Rescue to retrieve, heal, and release the injured juveniles.
Then round out your visit to the Centennial exhibit and the heron colony with lunch downtown! See below for some good Oakland eateries near City Hall and the rookery.
It’s fitting that the Centennial exhibit find a roost at City Hall. Golden Gate Audubon Society has a long history with Oakland residents and wildlife, including:
- GGAS member and conservation chair Paul Covel served as the City of Oakland’s first paid naturalist from 1947 to 1972. He introduced thousands of children and adults to the wildlife of Lake Merritt and the Oakland Hills, established a refuge for injured birds at Lake Merritt, and marshaled support to build the Rotary Nature Center there.
- GGAS fought long and hard to preserve wetlands along San Leandro Bay, an area that today includes the city’s beloved Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. Thanks to a GGAS lawsuit in the 1980s, 73 acres of wildlife-rich marsh there were saved from development and turned into parkland.
- GGAS mobilizes over 300 people each year for its Oakland Christmas Bird Count — putting more people into the field than any other CBC in the world! These citizen scientists fan out across a 15-mile circle centered in Oakland and collect valuable data that helps track changes in bird populations.
Celebrate this longstanding connection with us through the Centennial exhibit! Details below:
Dalziel Building lobby, 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza (on the 15th Street side of City Hall, home to Oakland’s planning and zoning offices. Open during weekday business hours, until July 7.
Wildlife Photography Exhibit
People’s Gallery, third floor of Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ozawa Plaza. Open during weekday business hours and during City Council meetings, until July 7.
Look up into the street trees on the blocks surrounding 13th and Alice Streets! This is the largest rookery of Black-crowned Night-Herons in the Bay Area, with a large number of Snowy Egret nests too.
Nearest BART Stop
The 12th Street Oakland BART station is about one block from City Hall and a few blocks from the rookery.
Where to Eat (just a few among many good choices)
Tribune Tavern. An old-fashioned grill with a full bar and excellent cocktails, partway between City Hall and the heron rookery. 401 13th Street.
Camburger. Burgers, of course, and craft beers. Also between City Hall and the rookery. 430 13th Street.
Cafe 15. On the opposite side of City Hall from the rookery, past the state building. Gourmet salads and sandwiches with some outdoor seating. 597 15th Street.
City Center plaza, a pedestrian mall across 14th street from City Hall, has a variety of inexpensive fast food outlets like Panda Express and The Organic Coup (organic fast food!), as well as a Max’s Diner.
Don’t forget Oakland Chinatown! Just a few blocks from the rookery, there are more restaurants than we can possibly list.