Birds in the ‘Hood


I have come to love birding, especially in areas close to where I live. This weekend, me and two other Outdoor Afros (Clay and Abu) came together as a result of our online planning to enjoy birds and nature near home at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park, a part of the East Bay Regional Park System.

The trip was a reminder that you don’t have to venture to remote areas or spend a lot of time to discover and benefit from the awesome bounty of nature.

I discovered in Clay an avid birder, and he was extremely knowledgeable about bird identification and shared some great experiences; Abu and I learned a lot from him.

Our chosen waterfront location is at the intersection of an urban core between the airport, a major freeway, and the homes of thousands of black and brown residents. With only an hour to spend as a group, we observed fifteen species of birds; some common and a few surprises, such as the California Clapper Rail.

I was disappointed that my camera battery died, but we were fortunate to run into Bill Thomas, a regular of the area, who took awesome photos of the birds we observed together, and generously sent them to me to share with you. Here are his photos of our adventure:

After two weeks of work related travel around the country, I found this was a perfect way to get re-connected to home, and it got my weekend off to a refreshing start!

The takeaway: You don’t need a lot of time, people, money, or knowledge to profoundly experience nature. All you need is the willingness to give it a try.

What birds do you notice in your local area? 


4 Thoughts on “Birds in the ‘Hood”

  • Yeah! Thanks Rue for writing this up. I had a lot of fun talking and learning with you and Abu. Seeing the clapper rail was such a good omen. I’ll keep my ear to the ground about other interesting bird happenings, and will bring them up when I hear about them. And if other people are interested in birding I am always open to the possibility of joining in. Thanks again Rue and Abu for the positive experience.

  • It’s so nice to see other African American birders. When I began birding in New York, I was the only one. After relocating to North Carolina, I again, find myself the only Black in the crowd. A friend of mine once asked, “Are there, like any brothers who bird?” I can confidently say yes there are! Thanks for the blog!

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