These Are a Few of My Favorite Birds

Every year at BioBlitz, National Geographic and the U.S. National Park Service rally to get people young and old to explore the wild spaces around them during a whirlwind 24-hour search to identify every species they can find. In advance of our next event in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, March 28-29, 2014, we’re already exploring stories of the life and lands of northern California. Learn More and Sign Up for BioBlitz 2014!

In this installment, National Geographic’s Caryl Sue name-checks just a few of the birds bioblitzers might see in the Marin Headlands, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Please sing to the tune of “My Favorite Things”! Inspiration from Wonderful Coworker Samantha . . . as well as Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, who created the greatest list song of all time. It’s not a shameless rip-off, it’s an homage.

Photo of a quail.
California Quail Photograph by Jessica Weinberg, courtesy National Park Service

Thrushes and swallows
and hummingbirds, tiny
Belted kingfishers
with beaks that are shiny

Flickers, sapsuckers,
can often be heard
Golden Gate has lots of woodpecker birds

Cormorants, loons, grebes,
endangered snow plovers,
coveys of quail under
chaparral covers

Egrets and herons
hunt fishes, not herds
Golden Gate has some riparian birds

When the gulls cry
When the terns fly
When ducks come to shore
I think of some shorebirds of Golden Gate park
and then I think of . . .
some more

Photo of a red-tailed hawk.
Red-tailed Hawk Photograph by Will Elder, courtesy National Park Service

Blackbirds, and cowbirds,
and sparrows, and finches,
Ospreys whose wingspan
spans dozens of inches

Warblers that sing
without saying a word
Golden Gate has even more of songbirds

Grosbeaks, and buntings,
and western tanagers,
kinglets, and wrentits,
and other gnatcatchers

Ravens and crows,
their identities blurred
These are just two of the Golden Gate birds

When the hawk strikes
When eagles shrike
When the falcon soars
I think of the raptors of Golden Gate park
and then I think of . . .
some more

Photo of a mosquito.
Vulture (OK, condor) Photograph by Stuart Thornton, National Geographic

Turkeys, coots, owls,
and petrels and ibis
Geese, doves, and pigeons
. . . now what else did I miss?

Brown and white pelicans,
auklets and murres
These are my favorite Golden Gate birds

When the jay squawks
When the crane stalks
When vultures eat gore
I think of the dozens of Golden Gate birds
and then I think of . . .
some more

Learn More and Sign Up for BioBlitz 2014