Birding Archive

Four plovers of the Bay Area December 5, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding

By Linda Carloni

One of the (many) great things about the City of Alameda is the birding. Our long sandy bay-side beach and mudflats offer a feast of winter shorebirds. Among my favorites are our four plovers.

Plovers are in the family Charadriidae – chunky small-to-medium-size shorebirds with short necks, large eyes, and relatively short bills. Unlike their sandpiper colleagues, they are visual feeders.…

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Talk some turkey this Thanksgiving! November 19, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding

By Bob Lewis

Tired of talking politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table? Instead, entertain your family and friends by talking turkey –  specifically, our increasing population of Wild Turkeys in California.

Today, a quarter-million or more Wild Turkeys make their home in the Golden State. Maybe some are spending time in your neighborhood!

But in fact, this specific species—Meleagris gallopavo

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Who named this bird and why? October 30, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding

By Steve and Carol Lombardi

So there I was, standing in a marsh staring at a bird that my Sibley’s field guide identified as N. nycticorax or Black-crowned Night-Heron. As I leafed through my field guide I found myself wondering where the scientific and English names came from, who decided on the spelling, why the scattered capitals, and really—who jammed those hyphens into the common name?

Of course,…

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Pterosaurs – older and bigger than birds October 24, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding

By Jack Dumbacher

Powered flight is perhaps the most iconic ability of birds. Their feathers and wings have set them apart from other vertebrates, and they have amazing adaptations that have allowed them to master flight, including special lungs and airsacs to capture oxygen incredibly efficiently, and hollow or reduced bones and no teeth to cut down weight.

There are many ways to get into the skies, and …

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Genetic mapping of Northern Spotted Owls September 27, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding, Conservation

Bay Area researchers have mapped the DNA of the Northern Spotted Owl, gaining information that could shed light on how this threatened Pacific Coast bird is interacting with non-native owls invading its habitat.

The California Academy of Sciences — in collaboration with U.C. Berkeley, U.C. San Francisco, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute…

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Burrowing Owl docents start their 11th season September 5, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding, Conservation, Golden Gate Audubon

By Della Dash

Everyone loves Burrowing Owls… once they actually see one.

As Burrowing Owl docents with Golden Gate Audubon Society, we get the added thrill of helping people see their first owl and learn more about them. We’re monitoring owls, and creating owl allies!

GGAS will hold its annual training for Burrowing Owl docent volunteers this month, on Saturday, September 23. You’re invited to join…

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How birds handle hot weather September 2, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding

By Bob Lewis

With our temperature climbing this week, some of us are wondering how birds deal with elevated temperatures. Remember, they’re sitting inside a feather quilt. A review of Cornell’s Handbook of Bird Biology and a bit of personal experience provide some clues.

Like mammals, birds control their core body temperature in a fairly narrow range. For birds, that range is usually 39-43 degrees …

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