Posts Tagged ‘birds’

San Francisco’s Natural History

April 20, 2017

To be published in 2017:
SAN FRANCISCO’S NATURAL HISTORY
FROM SAND DUNES TO STREETCARS

This book traces the changes in San Francisco’s landscape from the days of the Ohlone to the present.  What native species were present when only Native Americans lived here? What animal grazed, flew or swam here? In the wild countryside what natural waterways supported life?  What trees, fruits, and flowering plants would the Ohlone have known and used?  And…what happened to all that after the Europeans arrived? It’s a dramatic cascade of changes, filled with disappearance and devastation, ruin, restoration and rebirth.  As the centuries passed and the cityscape developed and changed, so has the natural landscape and the creatures in it, including us–humans, whose values and actions have altered and shaped everything.

In spite of what amounts to obliteration of the old natural environment, many native species survive and even thrive in the modern city.  “Life” here includes wildlife. Contemporary restoration projects mover forward.  Brown Pelicans and coyotes have been joined by new immigrants like collared-doves and eastern gray squirrels.  Forests of introduced trees today host Red-shouldered Hawks and Hooded Orioles. And yet, there is not stasis and never has been. Now comes climate change.  All is flux.

Through this book, I hope to help provide knowledge and perspective on what has gone before, but also what we now face.  To protect and preserve this peninsula, this beautiful piece of our planet, the decisions we humans must make are not just cosmetic, they are matters of life and death.  People must understand what’s happened and what;s happening in order to avoid repeating devastating mistakes of the past, and in order to proceed wisely and humanely into the future. From open space to micro-plastic pollution, the decisions rest with us.

The Ohlone managed the landscape through use of fire:

ohlone boatOHLONE FIREOhlone village sites:Ohlone_villages-mapohlone1ohlone3

Beechey’s map from 1826-7:sf map
First United States map of San Francisco, before Gold Rush.sf1848

1849, Gold Rush boomtown and bay fillearly mapearlysf1early-yerba-buena YB PORT

1851 and the ships abandoned by crews

1851MapSF-1851YB PORT2YB PORT3YB PORT4

Ocean Beach around 1890ob1890photoPlowing the dunes in preparing to create Golden Gate Park, 1870s:Richmond$plowing-dunes-with-horsesLiving with sand after earthquake:sand hillsTheodore Wores’ painting of dunes looking across to Lake Merced in early 1900s, lupine in bloom where houses now stand:San-Francisco-Sand-Dunes-and-Lake-mercedCutting through sand hill to make Second Street near Rincon Point, before 1900.Second-Street-Cut-1869-A12.28.752nSunset District just after WW2:Sunset_dunes_1947

CLIMATE CHANGE TALK–HERE’S MY BIBLIOGRAPHY

October 10, 2015

I speak about western birds and climate change at 530pm in Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon on the night of October 15th. Talk is free.

CLIMATE CHANGE: A SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR PACIFIC COAST BIRDERS This bibliography include articles and books that deal with species outside the Avian clan but changes in moose or monarch populations, or diseases in forest trees cannot be isolated from similar or related affects on birds.

Alaska’s spruce bark beetle crisis:
http://forestry.alaska.gov/insects/sprucebarkbeetle.htm

Amphibian decline:
http://amphibiaweb.org/declines/declines.html

Aridity:
A Great Aridness. William de Buys.

All the Wild That Remains. David Gessner. Book describes the environmental thoughts of Stegner and Abbey and author visits sites they knew and loved.

When the Rivers Run Dry. Fred Pearce.

Avian keratin disorder:
http://atowhee.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/freak-beak/
I am investigating an epizootic of similar bill deformities in Alaska. This epizootic has recently spread to the Pacific Northwest, with a large cluster of bill deformities appearing in the Puget Sound region. Birds affected by this ‘avian keratin disorder’ have bills that are abnormally long and often crossed, such as in this nuthatch. We’ve determined that the keratin layer of the beak (like the material in a person’s fingernails) is growing too rapidly. Despite extensive testing, we still don’t know what’s causing the problem. We’ve documented beak deformities among a large number of species, including chickadees, crows, nuthatches, jays, woodpeckers, ravens, and several raptors. We are very interested in receiving reports of any birds with abnormal bills such as this one. Please visit our website at the USGS Alaska Science Center or contact me directly:
http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/landbirds/beak_deformity/index.html
–Colleen Handel
Research Wildlife Biologist
USGS Alaska Science Center
cmhandel@usgs.gov

Beetle infestation:
Empire of the Beetle. Andrew Nikiforuk.
Birds as sentinel species: “Canaries in a Global Cole Mine?” pp. 1337-1338. “Ecology” 88(5), 2007. Review of the book Birds and Climate Change by Moller et al. Elsevier. Burlington, Mass. 2006.

Bobcat-lynx hybrids:
http://www.nrri.umn.edu/lynx/information/hybrid.html

Bumble bee evolution right now: Functional mismatch in a bumble bee pollination mutualism under climate change. Authors: Nicole E. Miller-Struttmann, Jennifer C. Geib, James D. Franklin, et al. Science 25 September 2015: 1541-1544. [DOI:10.1126/science.aab0868] Researchers write: “We found that in two alpine bumble bee species, decreases in tongue length have evolved over 40 years. Co-occurring flowers have not become shallower, nor are small-flowered plants more prolific. We argue that declining floral resources because of warmer summers have favored generalist foraging, leading to a mismatch between shorter-tongued bees and the longer-tubed plants they once pollinated.”

California climate change:
http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/climate_action_team/reports/
http://oehha.ca.gov/multimedia/epic/ [this contains list of all state’s climate change reports]

California’s official West Nile Virus website:
http://westnile.ca.gov/wnv_basics.htm

California West Nile infection map:
http://westnile.ca.gov/latest_activity.php

Carbon tetrachloride still being emitted:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/23/ozone-depleting-compound-found_n_5701157.html

Center for Biological Diversity:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/index.html

Christmas Bird Count Analysis:
WWW.audubon.org/bird/bacc/species.html

Climate change anxiety:
http://www.care2.com/causes/climate-change-anxiety-and-how-we-can-become-climate-resilient.html

Climate change disagreement, not debate:
“How to Talk About climate Change So People Will Listen. By Charles Mann. “The Atlantic,” Sept., 2014.

Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Climate Crisis. By John Berger. Northbrae Books. 2014.

Coal use worse than we’ve been told:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28942403

Coal burning waste:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02d.html

Coffee:
“Climate for Coffee” in “National Geographic” magazine. Sept. 2015.

Extinction
Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Elizabeth Colbert. Henry Holt. 2014.

Extinctions predicted:
“Extinction risk from climate change” letter in Nature 427, 145-148 (8 January 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature02121; Received 10 September 2003; Accepted 13 October 2003, By Chris Thomas, et al.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6970/full/nature02121.html

Feral. George Monbiot. Penguin. 2013. Argues for helping all animals and plants find space for survival.
Website for book: http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/24/feral-searching-for-enchantment-on-the-frontiers-of-rewilding/

Greenhouse gas list, according to IPCC:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_list_of_greenhouse_gases

Greenland ice sheet loss accelerates:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28852980

Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybridization
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/magazine/should-you-fear-the-pizzly-bear.html?

Health hazards with climate change:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/health.html

IPCC report, Fall, 2014:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/08/26/climate-change-report-united-nations/14638079/

Christina Larson “Hostile shores”
Science 9 October 2015: 150-152. [DOI:10.1126/science.350.6257.150]. Describes environmental degradation of marshlands used by Asian migrant birds.

Methane from rice:
http://www.ghgonline.org/methanerice.htm

Methane sources:
http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html

Minnesota moose population:
http://www.startribune.com/local/270761141.html

Moose population decreases:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/science/earth/something-is-killing-off-the-moose.html

Monarch migration and species hybrids on NPR’s “On Point:”
http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/08/20/monarch-butterflies-migration-climate-change

Monarch population decline:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140819-monarch-butterfly-milkweed-environment-ecology-science/

Monarch population decline covered by “Living on Earth,” of NPR:
http://www.loe.org/shows/shows.html?programID=14-P13-00026

Monterey pine disease:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_pitch_canker

Mountaintop species and climate change:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/mountaintop_species/index.html

National Wildlife Federation, on adaptation to climate change:
http://www.nwf.org/climate-smart

Oak sudden death:
http://www.suddenoakdeath.org/

Ocean acidification effects on marine life:
http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/ocean-acidification/learn-act/effects-of-ocean-acidification-on-marine-species-ecosystems
“PATHOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH WEST NILE VIRUS INFECTIONS IN THE YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIE (PICA NUTTALLI): A CALIFORNIA ENDEMIC BIRD”
Holly B. Ernest, Leslie W. Woods and Bruce R. Hoar
Journal of Wildlife Diseases Apr 2010, Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 2010) pp. 401-408
M

Moller, Anders, et al. (eds). Feeling the Heat. Elsevier, Burlington, MA. 2006.

Pepperwood Preserve climate change studies:
http://app.pepperwoodpreserve.org/pls/apex/f?p=514:10:7789024140228

Pine beetles:
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/whats_killing_the_great_forests_of_the_american_west/2252/

Rising land:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-21/epic-drought-in-west-is-literally-moving-mountains.html

Solar power installation kills birds:
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/08/22/pecking-order-energys-toll-on-birds

Starfish die-off on Pacific Coast:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/scientists-zero-whats-causing-starfish-die-offs/

Tricolored Blackbird Population Crisis
http://ca.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2014/california-fish-and-game-commission-considers-emergency-listing-tricolo
Urban heat islands:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/20/urban-heat-island-effect-us-cities_n_5696009.html?

Warming hiatus:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/atlantic-ocean-slows-global-warming-but-scientists-believe-hiatus-will-end-around-2030-1.2743216?cmp=fbtl

White-tailed Ptarmigan’s future:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/white-tailed_ptarmigan/map.html
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/white-tailed_ptarmigan/
World Health Organization on climate change, starvation and disease:
http://www.who.int/topics/climate/en/

GREAT GRAY OWL NEIGHBORS

February 24, 2015

Here is a list of some of the many species we know share living space with Great Gray Owls in some portions of the owl’s range across California, Oregon and Washington State:

[* indicates evidence that this species can be prey for a Great Gray Owl]
BIRDS:
Canada Goose                                   Branta canadensis

Common Merganser                      Mergus merganser

California Quail

Mountain Quail*

Ruffed Grouse

Sooty Grouse

Dusky Grouse

Bald Eagle                                                            Haliaectus leucocephalus

Spotted Sandpiper                                          Actitis macularius
Wilson’s Snipe                                   Gallinago delicata

Spotted Owl                                                       Strix occidentalis

Boreal Owl                                                          Aegolius funereus

Northern Pygmy-Owl                     Glaudicium gnoma

North Saw-Whet Owl                     Aegolius acadius

Vaux’s Swift                                                       Chaetura vauxi

Lewis’s Woodpecker                      Melanerpes lewis

Williamson’s Sapsucker                 Sphyrapicus thyroideus

Red-naped Sapsucker                    Sphyrapicus nuchalis

White-headed Woodpecker       Picoides albolarvatus

Hairy Woodpecker                                          Picoides villosus

Black-backed Woodpecker                          Picoides arcticus
American Three-toed Woodpecker     Picoides dorsalis

Northern Flicker                                               Coalptes auratus

Pileated Woodpecker                    Dryocopus pileatus

Olive-sided Flycatcher                   Contopus cooperi

Western Wood-Pewee                 Contopus sordidulus

Willow Flycatcher                                             Empidonax traillii

Dusky Flycatcher                                              Empidona oberholseri

Cassin’s Vireo                                    Vireo cassinii

Clark’s Nutcracker                                           Nucrifraga columbiana

Gray Jay                                                               Perisoreus canadensis

Steller’s Jay                                                        Cyanocitta stelleri

Western Scrub-Jay                                          Aphelocoma californica

Common Raven                                                Corvus corax

Tree Swallow                                     Tachycibeta bicolor

Black-capped Chickadee                               Poecile atricapillus

Mountain Chickadee                      Poecile gambeli

Red-breasted Nuthatch                                Sitta canadensis

White-breasted Nuthatch                            Sitta carolinesis

Pygmy Nuthatch                                              Sitta pygmaea

House Wren                                                       Troglodytes aedon

Pacific Wren                                                       Troglodytes pacificus

Bewick’s Wren                                  Trhyomanes bewickii

Golden-crowned Kinglet                              Regulus satrapa

Ruby-crowned Kinglet                   Regulus calendula

Western Bluebird                                            Sialia mexicanus

Mountain Bluebird                                          Sialia curruccoides

Townsend’s Solitaire                      Myadestes townsendi

Hermit Thrush                                   Catharus guttatus

American Robin                                                Turdus migratorius

Nashville Warbler                                            Oreothlypis ruficapilla

Orange-crowned Warbler                            Oreothlypis celata

Yellow-rumped Warbler                               Setophaga coronata

Hermit Warbler                                 Setophaga occidentalis

Townsend’s Warbler                      Setophaga townsendii

MacGillivray’s Warbler                   Geothlypis tomiei

Green-tailed Towhee                    Pipilo chlorurus

Chipping Sparrow                                            Spizella passerina

Lincoln’s Sparrow                                             Melospiza lincolnii

Song Sparrow                                    Melospiza melodia

Fox Sparrow                                                       Passerella iliaca

Dark-eyed Junco*                                           Junco hyemalis

Western Tanager                                             Piranga ludoviciana

Cassin’s Finch                                    Carpodacus cassinii

Red Crossbill                                                      Loxia curvirostra

Pine Siskin                                                           Spinus pinus

Evening Grosbeak                                           Coccothraustes vespertinus

MAMMALS:

mountain lion

bobcat

fisher

marten

short-tailed weasel

raccoon

black bear

common gray fox

elk

mule deer

North American porcupine

Botta’s pocket gopher* Thomomys bottae

northern pocket gopher

western pocket gopher

Townsend’s chipmunk* Tamias townsendii
yellow pine chipmunk*

western pocket gopher*   Thomomys mazama

creeping vole*   Microtus oregoni

dusky-footed wood rat*   Neotoma fuscipes

Norway rat*   Rattus norvegicus

coast mole*   Scapanus orarius

shrew-mole*   Neurotrichus gibbsii

vagrant shrew*   Sorex vagrans

Trowbridge’s shrew* Sorex trowbridgii

fog shrew*   Sorex sonomae

Douglas’ squirrel*     Tamiasciurus douglasii

red squirrel*

northern flying squirrel*   Glaucomys sabrinus

western red-backed vole*   Clethrionomys californicus

montane vole*   Microtus montanus

long-tailed vole           Microtus longicaudus

Richardson’s vole

red-backed vole*

heather vole*

deer mouse*   Peromyscus maniculatus

golden-mantled ground squirrel*

 

*Known prey animal within the Pacific Slope states