Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Burrowing owls in the northeast corner of Berkeley's Cesar Chavez Park

The Cesar Chavez Park is a recreational area at Berkeley's waterfront. In fact, this site is a former landfill in the San Francisco Bay. Now, green grasslands belong to its main features. The park is a playground for humans, dogs and squirrels. But more surprising, some Western Burrowing Owls (Speotyto cunicularia) selected sections of the park as their habitat, where they stay over winter—from October to April. Burrowing owls typically “play” and hunt by day and you can easily spot them from the trail during a day-walk. So it was in 2004, as The Berkeley Daily Planet reported, and so it happened again the following winter seasons.
In a joint project, The Golden Gate Audubon Society, The Shorebird Park Nature Center, and the Berkeley Marina of the City of Berkeley are monitoring arrival and well-doing of the owls. In the northeast corner of the Park a small, “fenced-off” area along the shoreline trail has been created for their protection.

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