California Least Tern

California Least Tern at the Alviso Slough Trail at the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso (San Jose)

The California Least Tern is one of a few Tern species. They are still considered an endangered bird species. The bird is relatively small measuring ten inches with a wing length of four inches and weighing only 45-55 grams. Their diet consists of diving towards the water picking off fish just below the surface. California Least Terns are identified by a short, forked tail, and a long, slightly decurved, tapered bill. Their territory is only in the United States along the immediate coast of California from San Francisco Bay south to the Mexican border. But due to coastal development and intense human recreational use of beaches the numbers greatly diminished with numbers around 6,000 pairs today.

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Cat Mural

Painted by Roan Victor, a painter, muralist, educator, & cat lover

This photograph was taken in front of the Dancing Cat, an open and cage-free environment of formally homeless adult cats that hopefully find a new home with families. The Dancing Cat is a non-profit organization cat adaption lounge based in downtown San Jose. It’s purpose is to find homes for at-risk adult cats from the San José Animal Care Center in a cage-less environment where they can socialize with people and other cats and eventually find a new home. When visiting you only need to pay $10 for one hour to socialize with the cats. The Dancing Cat is mostly run by volunteers and generous donations in the community.

https://www.thedancingcat.org/

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture photograph taken on the Alviso Slough Trail at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso (San Jose) August 2021.

Turkey Vultures are fairly large birds with long, broad wings. Their colors are dark brown with a featherless red head and pale bill. They are graceful but unsteady soarers and fly low to the ground and have a great sense of smell. Turkey Vultures are scavengers and can be seen at roadsides, farm fields, countryside, and landfills. They help clean the environment by eating flesh off dead animals before they decay. Researchers have noted that turkey vultures can travel 200 miles a day. Their life span is up to 24 years old and they live in Southern, Canada, North America, and South America.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow on the Mallard Slough Trail at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso (San Jose)

The Song Sparrow is a very common sparrow in North America and are seen in people’s backyards. Their colors are often russet-and-gray with bold streaks down its white chest but in California they have a more darker tone. The Song Sparrow’s length is from 5.8 to 7.5 inches. You can see the bird living in fields or near water. They eat mostly insects or seeds and forage on the ground. One of the oldest known Song Sparrow was 11 years old.

Muwekma Ohlone Mural San Jose

Mural painting of Charlene Nijmeh Tribal Chairwoman President of Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

Creation Hymn

In the beginning of the world

all men had knowledge cheerfully

all had leisure

all thoughts were pleasant

at that time all creature were friends

wide river rushing

wide to the hills

everywhere spreading

waters devouring

men and all creatures on the flood of the waters

when the daughters of the spirit came to

help

all then joined together

all saying

Come help

in other years all traveled

over the waters of the hard stony sea

all were peaceful long ago

large and long was the east land

rich and good

shall we be free and happy then

at the new land?

We want rest in peace and wisdom

Adapted by E.G. Squier, ‘… translation of the Walum–Olum, or Bark Record of the Lenni

Lenape’, first printed in The American Whig Review, 1849

wide view alfonso salazar mura 4-27-2021
Photographs of the Muwekma Ohlone Mural from start to end

The Ohlone mural is a tribute to the proud culture and history of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. It was painted by Alfonso Salazar, a Native Indian, born in San Jose. The mural is sponsored by Pow Wow San Jose and the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy in San Jose as part of the Artist in Residence program.

The Naticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation mostly live in Delaware Bay but also in New Jersey, northern Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York

http://muwekma.org/

https://www.powwowsanjose.com/about-pwsj

Red Tail Hawk

Red Tail Hawk at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Alviso

The Red Tail Hawk is a very common bird in North America. They usually live approximately 21 years and are found in the countryside, woodlands, mountains, plains, and roadsides. The birds are known for effortless soaring and are often seen on roadside poles or sailing over fields and woods. Red Tail Hawk usually have a trademark reddish-brown tail but can also have black, brown, and white plumage. When feeding they usually swoop down on their prey. Their diet includes mammals, birds, reptiles, rabbits, and ground squirrels. The Red Tail Hawks are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can’t be hunted or bothered.

American Avocet & Black-necked Stilt

The American Avocet bird is a relatively large shorebird with an upturned bill, long neck, and round head. It feeds by wading through shallow waterswhile looking for crustaceans, insects, and fish.  Breeding Avocet’s are brown, black, and white while the non-breeding Avocet’s are white and black.  It is found in wetlands, salt ponds, and evaporation ponds. During winter also uses inter-tidal mudflats, and flooded pastures. It’s habitat is from Washington and British Columbia, east to Minnesota, and south to California and Texas. 

 

The Black-necked Stilt has colourful rose-pink legs, a thin black bill, and black-and-white feathers. They are often seen moving through wetlands in search of food while making high pitched yapping sounds. You can often view Stilts on salt-marshes, flooded fields, or salt pans. Black-necked Stilt’s are found in wetlands from North America and the Caribbean south to central Argentina.

Life of Birds

salt pond

Alviso Slough Trail at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso, San Jose

 

Birds mostly fly

 

 

When they don’t

 

 

They hang out

 

White Pelican at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

white pelican

Mallard Slough Trail Alviso (San Jose)

White Pelicans can be some of the largest North American birds with a 9 foot wingspan and weighing between 9.2 to 30 pounds. They are identified by having large heads and yellow huge bills. For feeding the pelicans dip their bills to swallow fish. Historically White Pelicans were threatened with extinction due to DDT pesticides during the 1950s and 1960s but returned back to health due to stricter environmental protection laws. White Pelicans generally live in the lakes, marshes, and salt ponds most of the time. The birds are similar to Brown Pelicans except they are larger and don’t dive from the air for fish.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-white-pelican