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Featured City Birds
Wild City Birds of San Francisco and Beyond

Although there are many photos of birds of San Francisco on the City Birds Website, the Featured Birds Section is devoted to special pictures, illustrations and slide shows which delve a bit into the secret lives of the birds shown here, illustrating their behavior among their own kind and their relationship with humans and other species of birds.

Because pictures have been added to the Featured Bird Section over several years, we have over time published birds which used to be common in the Heart of the City, but now are no longer seen.  We hope you find this section both entertaining and insightful.  Further, we encourage you to search "birds" in the City Birds Search Box to enjoy more of our wild birds pictures.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Hunting for a Meal of Small Bird.  Photographed with a Canon SX40 HS camera. During a typically cold, windy, gray, San Francisco day in August, this Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen perched on first one and then another rooftop ledge, scouring the gardens and trees below in one of few remaining courtyards in the City.

The hawk remained over the courtyard for quite awhile.  The bird's waiting game was not without danger.  With attention on the gardens and trees below, looking to make a meal out of a small bird, the hawk is exposed to attack by a larger bird of prey.  First published August 20, 2013 by City Birds.

American Robin Eggs, Chicks and Nest in Duluth, MN during June, 2013 This set of American Robin pictures includes pictures of Robin eggs, the chicks and the nest left behind.  These are not the Robins featured in the prior addition to this section which shows San Francisco Robins gathering food to feed their young; but, rather, they are chicks born and raised under the eves of a home in Duluth, Minnesota during June, 2013.

First published August 20, 2013 by City Birds.

American Robins at San Francisco National Cemetery.  Photographed with a Canon SX40 HS camera. This set of American Robin pictures was taken June 1st, at the height of the breeding season in these parts.  The location is San Francisco National Cemetery, located at the Presidio on a gently sloping hillside facing the Golden Gate.  The grass and trees are filled with food for many birds such as these Robins.

First published June 12, 2013 by City Birds.

This juvenile Black Phoebe (evident by the brown feathers) was a surprise visitor to a San Francisco highrise rooftop November 2012.  Photographed with a Canon SX40 HS camera. This juvenile Black Phoebe (evident by the brown feathers) was a surprise visitor to a San Francisco highrise rooftop November 2012.  The bird stayed only long enough to get one shot; fortunately it was a very lucky shot.

Published February 10, 2013 by City Birds.

White-crowned Sparrows of Fort Mason, San Francisco Autumn and Winter is a great time to visit San Francisco parks and beaches as the weather is the best of the year in the City.  Where there are flowers, one can usually find birds -- dogs permitting.  During a late Fall visit to Fort Mason Gardens in San Francisco, we ran across some White-crowned Sparrows enjoying a pleasant day and eating from the bounty to be found there.  Here are three pictures of these beautiful little birds.  The White-crowned Sparrow is also featured in the City Birds Photo Blog.

First published December 1, 2012 by City Birds.

A Female House Finch, perched on a satellite dish atop a highrise, looking down upon the human fray of which she wants no part During 2010, we published an article about the felling of the last tall trees in these parts and the effect of doing so on birds which depend on them for food, shelter and safety.  Since then a variety of birds has been lost to us.  Those birds which survive (Crows, Ravens, Pigeons, House Finches, et al.) are reduced to using fire escapes, satellite dishes, roof railings, etc. for perches as suitable trees are scarce.  This album features some close-ups illustrating the adaptability of the House Finch which is the last remaining songbird in City Birds Country, the Heart of San Francisco.

These pictures were first published November 14, 2012 by City Birds.

A Young Brown Pelican at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA Although the American White Pelican is commonly seen at Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge located in downtown Oakland, California, the Brown Pelican is less frequently found at this location.  The Brown Pelican used to be seen frequently off the Pacific Coast surrounding San Francisco, however during 2009-10 many of the Brown Pelicans off San Francisco's coast died off.  Innocent to the ways of the world, this young bird was quite tame, allowing us to approach fairly near in order to photograph many studies of the bird.

These pictures were first published August 23, 2011 by City Birds.

Three Varieties of Geese at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA During regular visits to the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge in Downtown Oakland, California, we are at times surprised by the appearance of some new birds on the scene.  One such day we saw three new varieties of geese.

In this picture, from left to right, we see two Roman Tufted Geese, one brown China Goose, and one White China Goose.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Duluth, MN Colorful Autumn leaves make for a beautiful stage on which to see and photograph a wide variety of birds in and around Duluth, Minnesota.

In this picture, we see a White-breasted Nuthatch foraging for food.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

A Downy Woodpecker, Duluth, MN The colorful Autumn leaves and berries during a warm, sunny day in Duluth, Minnesota, belie the fact that Winter is near.  Birds, like humans and other animals, must make preparations for survival.

In this picture, we see a Downy Woodpecker foraging for food.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

A Raven Relaxes Surrounded by the Colors of Fall Near Duluth, MN Soon Winter will arrive and the easy life of abundance will become more difficult for several months.  But for now, it is time for this Raven to relax and enjoy the scenery.

This picture was taken near Duluth, Minnesota, on the North shore of Lake Superior.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

Close-up of a Raven, Duluth, MN This is a close-up of a Raven taken during Autumn in Duluth, Minnesota.

The Raven is foraging on a lawn which will soon be covered with snow, making foraging for food much more difficult for all birds living in snowy climates.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

Jungle Crow of Bangkok, Thailand Seen here is a Jungle Crow foraging in a Bangkok, Thailand, park.  The Jungle Crow is found throughout most of Asia.  The bird is also called a "Large-billed Crow" or "Thick-billed Crow."

The Jungle Crow is a slim bird and, being smaller than, e.g., an American Raven, the large size of the bill appears quite pronounced.  More pictures of the Jungle Crow can be seen in the City Birds Photo Blog.

This photo was first published October 31, 2010 by City Birds.

Ring-billed Gulls, Duluth, MN Ring-billed Gulls (easily identified by a black ring around their bill close to the tip) is a year around resident of much of the United States, including the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  The bird's territory extends inland from the Gulf Coast into the Midwest.

City Birds took this picture of a pair of Ring-billed Gulls on a sandy beach in Duluth, Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior.  More . . .

This photo was first published July 14, 2009 by City Birds.

American White Pelicans, Lake Merritt The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds of North America -- at around 62 inches in length.  They have a wingspan of over nine feet.

Normally the American White Pelican breeds in the northern interior part of the United States (including Idaho, Wyoming and Montana) extending well into Canada.  For nesting, they like lakes and Summer warmth.  More . . .

These photos were first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

Brown Pelican Over Ocean Beach, SF This picture shows a Brown Pelican in flight over Ocean Beach on San Francisco's Pacific Coast.  The Brown Pelican is smaller than the American White Pelican.  The average length of this bird is 40-50 inches.

Unlike the American White Pelicans which fish while floating on the water, the Brown Pelicans catch their food by diving upon fish. More . . .

This photo was first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

Some Lake Merritt Ducks The Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge (oldest wildlife refuge in the United States) has a wide variety of ducks.  They are charming, friendly and approachable and love a handout such as a bit of bread.

When visiting San Francisco, a great side trip for bird lovers is to get on BART and go over to Lake Merritt in Downtown Oakland.  It is a peaceful place with some year around birds such as a variety of ducks and migratory birds such as the American White Pelicans.

This photo was first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

Mallard Couple at Stow Lake, SF The Mallard is the best known duck in the United States and is found in all 48 contiguous states.  This female and male duck are relaxing during a mild morning at Stow Lake, located withing Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  All domestic ducks trace their ancestry to the Mallard.

These photos were first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

California Gull in San Francisco The California Gull is the most common bird now seen in City Birds Country, the Heart of San Francisco.  Flying over the City from one coast to another, they seldom land to scavenge food anymore.  This gull landed late one afternoon in hope of a handout.  We had nothing to offer and, at any rate, feeding the bird would be illegal in San Francisco.

These photos were first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

Double-crested Cormorants at Lake Merritt The Double-crested Cormorant is a year around resident at Lake Merritt in Downtown Oakland, CA.  These all black birds with a broad orange throat patch are 30+ inches in length.

These Cormorants claim much the same habitat as the American White Pelican.  Year around they are found on the entire U.S. western coast, Gulf of Mexico, Florida as well as most of the U.S. Atlantic coast.  More . . .

This photo was first published July 11, 2009 by City Birds.

House Finch w. Broken Beak Like humans biting into something too hard for teeth to handle and finding themselves with a broken tooth; birds such as House Finches and Cardinals, with sharp-sided but thin upper beaks, can break them by eating whatever is too hard.  To see perfectly beautiful and healthy birds die early deaths due to such dangerous things as whole kernel corn and kernels of corn ground into a material akin to shards of broken glass is sad to see.  Click here for the whole picture.

This photo was first published November 30, 2008 by City Birds.

In addition to San Francisco scenes and events, the many San Francisco Galleries also have photos of many birds of City Birds Country, the Heart of the City.  A bird search of the City Birds Website will lead you to even more city birds.

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