Presidio of San Francisco (June 7, 2005) — A pair of birds not seen nesting in San Francisco for nearly 70 years has been spotted in a nest in the Presidio.
Bird experts with Golden Gate Audubon Society indicate the Western Bluebirds probably have chicks in the nest, too. The pair was spotted several times in the past few days bringing food back to the nest.
“The Western Bluebird’s return gives us hope that we can bring back some of the native species that were once lost from San Francisco,” said Elizabeth Murdock, executive director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “We’re delighted to see restoration efforts pay off€”and to welcome the bluebirds back to San Francisco.”
Golden Gate Audubon and the Presidio Trust are also working to restore habitat for the California Quail€”the City bird whose populations have dwindled from the hundreds to roughly 15 birds.
The bluebirds have found the Lobos Creek Valley, one of the first restoration sights in the Presidio, to be suitable habitat in which to nest and raise their young.
The nest is actually in a Monterey Cypress tree which is in the forest on the edge of the restored area, according to the Golden Gate Audubon Society. But it is this restored native habitat which provides the primary food source for the birds. Typically, these birds prefer coastal and interior grasslands.
It is not clear why the bluebirds left San Francisco in the 1930s. The last known reference of a Western Bluebird sighting in the City was reported in Golden Gate Audubon’s newsletter, The Gull, on June 15, 1936.
The bluebirds are one of the early indications of the potential for restorative success and the reversal of the decline of many native species.
The Lobos Creek Valley has historical significance as one of the last known habitats of the Xerces Blue Butterfly, a species that became extinct in the 1940’s.
Golden Gate Audubon is dedicated to protecting Bay Area birds, other wildlife and their natural habitats. We conserve and restore wildlife habitat, connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay Area residents in the protection of our shared, local environment.”