walk didn’t start with a bird sighting but instead with the sighting of a gray fox! Following that brief cameo, Chris led us to different parts of Ulistac and showed us various birding stations around the park.
Now if you’ve never been on a walk with Chris before, I would highly recommend it! Watching Chris identify birds is like watching Steph Curry from the sidelines! To my eyes and ears it was really hard to distinguish birds apart. But Chris was able to identify a bird with the same ease that Steph uses to snatch those three point shots!
During the walk, Chris taught us how to tell the males apart from the females by their distinctive markings and their plumage differences, and also how to pinpoint a bird’s species just by its sounds or shape alone.
By the end of the 90 minute walk we had spotted 26 species, including several California Scrub-Jays, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Song Sparrows, Hooded Orioles and a White-breasted Nuthatch, just to name a few.
Towards the end of the walk we came across the same fox, which had been joined by a friend, and nether of them were a tad bit shy of humans. I thought perhaps they were there to pose for a photo, and hoped they’d regain their natural wariness toward humans for their own protection.
The walk made me realize there is so much wildlife coexisting with humans in urban areas even though you may not observe it. This is why I think supporting SFBBO’s programs, such as habitat restoration and environmental education, is so crucial if we want to pass on this incredible beauty to future generations.
Karan Gathani is a citizen science and outreach volunteer for SFBBO. Chris Johnson is a volunteer bird walk leader with SFBBO. His next SFBBO walk will be in September (date and location TBD). You can learn more about our Outreach program on our website.
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