Venerable Terms of Venery

San Francisco Bay is a bountiful haven for wildlife. Walking along the bayshore can reveal coverts of coots paddling along lagoons and shallow bays, perhaps joined by a raft or paddling of different duck species. Walk along any of San Francisco Bay’s many marshes, and you could find herds of curlews and flings of dunlin probing through mudflats at low tide in search of a consortium of crabs. You may stumble upon a sedge of bitterns or herons slinking through the rushes, tules (and yes, sedges) of the Bay’s wetlands in search of a hood of snails to eat. You may even pass a charm of finches or a host of sparrows on your walk along the trail. Perhaps a scurry of squirrels will scurry across your path on your wildlife safari? If you’re really lucky, you may even see a congregation of plovers, like the threatened Snowy Plover, amongst the salt flats.

Further out into the Bay, pods of seals, dolphins and whales feast on the schools and shoals of fish lurking under the bays waters. Along the shoreline there may even be a romp of otters chowing down on beds of oysters or herds of sea urchins.

A glance upwards to the sky reveals ever more wildlife. A trip over the San Mateo or Dunbarton Bridge provides a perfect viewing spot for a pod of pelicans, and you can often find flights of cormorants perched on electrical towers.

As the temperature rises in the afternoon you may find a kettle or cast of hawks catching the warm updrafts in search of prey. Or perhaps you’ll stumble upon a wake or committee of vultures feeding on carrion? You’ve likely seen skeins of Canada Geese flying overhead on their migration north; if not a gaggle of them can often be found roaming our parks and soccer fields.

Even the urban bay reveals plentiful wildlife. Our cities are havens for squabbles of seagulls, mischiefs of rats, or kits of pigeons. It’s not uncommon to find an unkindness of ravens or a murder of crows either. Perhaps you’ve even seen a glittering of hummingbirds visiting your bird feeder?