The East Bay is an important intersection for world cultures. Yet most people do not realize that many of the birds we see here in the East Bay have actually come from Mexico or Panama. Our Bay, our estuaries, and even Lake Merritt are important, even essential places for birds that are passing through, or who have come here to winter.
The Black Turnstone, for example, breeds in Alaska, then winters in Mexico They feed in our bay and estuaries along their route.
The Olive sided Flycatcher has one of the longest and most drawn out migrations. They leave their winter home from Panama to the Andes and migrate along the coast of California, the SF Bay Area and up to Alaska and Canada. The Pacific Flyway is our intersection in the Bay Area for all the migrating birds that fly north and south, connecting us to Central and South America, the northwest and Canada.
I've been painting birds for a few years and am concerned about the decline in many species in our area. I received a grant to paint birds of Oakland, and had a recent show at the CA State Building of the "Vanishing Birds of the Bay." Birds are an indicator species. We need to pay attention to what they are telling us about caring for our mother earth.