Thursday, June 14, 2007

Animals are Invading Our Cities!

Last night I read a cute article in the NY Times about animals loose in Manhattan. First, a hawk fledgling made its way from nest to city streets. A couple of hours later, a young kestrel fell from the nest. Later, a sheep was sighted roaming the streets.
A sheep? Well, that's hardly a wild animal, so we'll just say she escaped the meat market and was rescued and named.
But the birds of prey are of great interest. Last spring when I visited Central Park there were t-shirts and a bird cam featuring a nesting pair of peregrine falcons on a high-rise apartment building overlooking the park. It seems that areas of high human density are also home to the pigeons, sparrows, and rats that these winged predators hunt for food.
These predatory animals aren't alone in their ability to live near human dwellings, even seek them out. Last night I walked through the shipping district of my neighborhood in Sausalito, 3 miles North of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was just getting dark when I spotted my coyote friend. A coyote, in Sausalito? Yes, indeed. Last time I saw it I thought it must be lost. But this time I followed it from a distance, and watched it slink through the gaps in fences like a kid in its own neighborhood.
Herons are other predators that seem to thrive here along the Bay, despite the industry and human density. Both the coyotes and the herons are here because they eat the small animals that in turn live here because of humans. Coyotes are known to eat rodents, cats and even small dogs if the opportunity strikes them. Herons love the rats, and have been known to eat small kittens and anything else that will fit down their throats.
And so another food web has already begun, right under our urban noses.
Who says you have to leave the city to find wildlife?
for the article in NY Times

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