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Visit a wild heron and snowy egret nesting colony in downtown Oakland

Egrets insert

Did you know that just a few blocks from UCOP offices, there’s an active nesting colony of black crowned night herons and snowy egrets? This year at least 45 active nests have been spotted, all of them visible from the ground.

To be so close to these birds is a rare opportunity and at this time of year the nests are full of chicks. Some of the chicks have fledged already and their antics can be comical. It’s a loud and raucous neighborhood, with the parents coming and going and the chicks all over the place. Grab this chance to see them — the block is scheduled for redevelopment, so this might be the final year that the colony is active.

UCOP Benefits Analyst Sharon Solstice will be your knowledgeable guide for a lunchtime visit to the nesting colony. She will be joined by Marissa Ortega Welch from the Golden Gate Audubon Society who is heading up the effort to study and protect this colony and to help rescue chicks who fall out of their nest.

DATE: Wednesday, May 4
TIME: 12 to 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Meet up at the corner of 13th and Alice, across from the post office

After viewing the birds on this block, if there is time and enough interest, the group can walk to Chinatown (Harrison and 12th St.) to see more nests.

Space is limited on this lunchtime tour, so if you wish to attend, please RSVP to Sharon Solstice at or 510-587-6012. Sharon can also answer any questions you have about this event.

A few things you should know about visiting the nesting area: It can be a bit smelly. Hats are recommended to keep your hair safe from aerial bombing. Although binoculars are not at all necessary, feel free to bring some for better viewing. There’ll also be a few pairs on hand to share.

In April, a flash art mob created some beautiful sidewalk art celebrating the wild birds, which you can see here:  This SF Chron article explains more about the herons and the need to protect nesting birds.

Sponsored by OP Staff Assembly, this event is the first in a series of explorations of downtown Oakland.

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