Some Larger Birds of San Francisco
January 18, 2011 -- In our last post we featured some of San Francisco's small birds. In our first post of 2011 we look at some of the larger birds to be found in the City. This post features Mute Swans, a Great Blue Heron, Crows, Ravens, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Canada Geese and Mallards.
The Mute Swan is found naturally mainly in temperate areas of Europe across western Asia, as far east as the Russian maritimes. It is often kept in captivity outside its natural range, as a decoration for parks and ponds. This is the case for the Mute Swans of The San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts pond where they live year-around with other birds and animals such as the pair of turtles seen in one of the pictures in this post.
Unfortunately, some time back one of the three swans was stolen. November 2010 another of the swans was killed by humans -- the bird's neck broken. The City has subsequently restocked the pond with three more Mute Swans. We wish them long, happy lives.
Birding in City Birds Country, the Heart of San Francisco is best done on rooftops of taller buildings. It is on such places one sees the various gulls flying over the City in predictable flight paths. Also seen are hawks circling the sky in search of food. At times one or more Crows pay us a visit on the rooftop, performing antics for our benefit. The Crows' larger cousin, the Raven, occasionally pays us a visit.
One cold, wet Winter day with quite limited visibility; four Glaucous-winged Gulls were seen flying low and with care toward us. They spotted us and started circling us in hope of a handout. We fetched a bit of bread and, holding a piece high, we coaxed them to land. First the adults devoured a bit of bread, seemingly testing it to see it was safe for their youngsters. Then the juveniles ate some bread -- requiring smaller pieces. After a short rest they flew off.
This post ends with two pictures of Canada Geese enjoying the placid waters of beautiful Stow Lake located in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.