I received a reminder of urban biodiversity and its importance yesterday while visiting one of my favorite places in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park (more on this special garden in an upcoming blog). I came upon an unusual sight, a Barn Owl roosting in the early afternoon sun. Though not uncommon in urban areas, having that unexpected opportunity to observe a Barn Owl on a busy President’s Day weekend was inspiring. Our increasingly urbanized species (over 50% live in urban areas worldwide and over eighty percent in the United States, both increasing) is putting tremendous pressure on wildlife even without factoring in the monumental threats from climate change. If animals are to survive our excess, making space for them in cities, suburbs, and exburbs is critical. But on that sunny afternoon, the worries about the future gave way to wonder at the present—that owl brightened my day.
For more on creating wildlife habitat in San Francisco check out the Natural Areas Program of SF Recreation & Parks.