San Francisco Wildlife

I finally saw the Telegraph Hill parrots this past weekend. It was such a gorgeous day out on Sunday that my roommate and I decided to walk along the Embarcadero to the Farmer’s Market, where we bought bad-for-us goodies like almond brittle and chocolate covered cherries along with good-for-us treats like fresh strawberries and fancy cheese. On our way back, we decided to cut through the city, and as we walked through the urban parks between the Embarcadero and our apartment, I heard the call of the now-famous birds. We made our way to the trees and stared up, catching glimpses of the birds here and there but mostly hearing their cawing laughter from hidden branches.

I was almost disappointed because I couldn’t see them clearly. Then my roommate said, “how can you be disappointed? You live in a city where you can randomly see and hear wild parrots”. He had a good point. In comparison to my Arizona hometown, San Francisco is a big city. It bustles with activity, there is always something to go do, and it offers conveniences like passing taxis and ATM’s on every corner. These things can’t be found in a small town. And the wildlife of this city is no small-town wildlife.

Sometimes I miss the howling of coyotes from back home. I even miss the screeching of brakes as cars swerve to miss roadrunners and families of quail on the city’s desert streets. But my urge to see interesting wildlife not seen in most locations can be met in San Francisco. In what other city can a day’s walk include hearing the bark of sea lions and the screech of parrots? Should my heart have desired it, I could easily have hopped a MUNI and headed to Golden Gate Park, where I could have seen the buffalo in their enclosure or watched the squirrels playing in the botanical gardens.

In so many ways, the city of San Francisco is a zoo! And in so many ways, the diverse opportunities offered here every day make me so happy that this is now my home.

4 Comments so far

  1. Nancy (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    If you REALLY want to see city wild life, start hanging out by the various art colleges during their smoke breaks – the multi-colored plumage on these creatures is truly exotic! [grin]

  2. Matt R. (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

    Please, call them bison, not buffalo. :*} BTW, a den of three coyotes lives in the SE corner of the bison paddock. I’ve seen one out in plain daylight in the middle of the paddock hunting rabbit, squirrel, gopher, skunk, or some such critter.

  3. Gabe Z. (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    We also have at least one wild coyote in Bernal Heights. I saw him once at the top of the hill before dawn.

  4. Mark (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    I was going to say coyotes are perhaps the one species of wild scavenger we don’t have — but you’re right! There is a coyote up in Bernal Heights, exactly the color of the hill (except during the spring, when I’m sure he wishes he could turn green).

    Anyone who’s lived in SF for very long knows there are many skunks, raccoons and oppossums in residential areas. I’ve seen a fox in Golden Gate Park, where there are all of the above, plus many feral cats. (Some Metrobloggers will remember the MB meetup this spring during which I excused myself to go feed the feral cats in GG Park with my wife’s aunt, who does it EVERY DAY.)

    My favorite wildlife sighting is pelicans. This morning as I was driving back to SF across the bay Bridge I looked up and way above the bridge towers there was a big V of pelicans heading toward Angel Island.

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