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Bernal Hill, San Francisco (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Bernal Hill, San Francisco

Map of Bernal Hill, San Francisco

San Francisco from Bernal Heights
White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis) Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - Eating Gopher Snake Bottas Pocket Golpher (Thomomys bottae) Annas Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis) Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - With Gopher Snake Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia) Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) Flight Annas Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Male Breeding American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Mobbed by Kestrel Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Male Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Sitting American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Female Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) American Robin (Turdus migratorius) American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) male Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

Bernal Heights is a hilltop park in East-Central San Francisco. This park has excellent views of Downtown San Francisco, and it can be a good place to see raptors and other soaring birds. The highlight of the park is the American Kestrel. Also, especially common are Common Raven, Western Gull, and Red-tailed Hawk.

I usually approach the park via a series of stairways starting from the Mission. The stairways are through gardens, and you might be rewarded with a flock of Cedar Waxwing (Best month March), California Towhee, Northern Mockingbird, Scrub Jay, American Robin, Bushtit, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, or Anna's Hummingbird. In winter, you can usually find Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Fox Sparrow.

Once you reach the top of the hill, you should start looking for American Kestrels. They are often on the wires above the park, and, on windy days, you can see them hovering on the west side of the park. Red-tailed Hawks are often on the top, and they sometimes push the Kestrels to lower altitudes. As for the Ravens, I have seen up to 30 in a flock on the top. Check the trees on the top of the hill for Dark-eyed Junco. The Esmeralda Staircase hosted a pair of Great-horned Owls for a time. During the spring and summer, there are occasional flocks of Barn or Cliff Swallow. Some of the more unusual sightings from the park include Acorn Woodpecker (seen twice in the same tree about one year apart), White-throated Swift, Double-crested Cormorant, Bonaparte's Gull, and Cooper's Hawk. Be mindful of the off-leash dogs in the park. A few of them feel threatened by scopes.


San Francisco 2007






Previous Visit (Golden Gate Park - San Francisco Botanical Garden: 1/3/2007)
Next Visit (Downtown: 1/5/2007)

Species Recorded (51)

Birds ( 48 )

Hawks, Eagles, and Kites ( Accipitridae )
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii
Sharp-shinned Hawk - Accipiter striatus

Kites, Hawks, Eagles, and Allies ( Acciptridae )
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
White-tailed Kite - Elanus leucurus

Falcons and Allies ( Falconidae )
American Kestrel - Falco sparverius

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers ( Laridae )
California Gull - Larus californicus
Western Gull - Larus occidentalis

Pigeons and Doves ( Columbidae )
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura

Barn Owl and Grass-owls ( Tytonidae )
Barn Owl - Tyto alba

Typical Owls ( Strigidae )
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia
Great Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus

Swifts ( Apodidae )
White-throated Swift - Aeronautes saxatalis

Hummingbirds ( Trochilidae )
Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna

Piculets and Woodpeckers ( Picidae )
Downy Woodpecker - Dryobates pubescens
Acorn Woodpecker - Melanerpes formicivorus

Swallows ( Hirundinidae )
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Violet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassina

Jays and Crows ( Corvidae )
California Scrub-Jay - Aphelocoma californica
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos
Common Raven - Corvus corax

Chickadees and Titmice ( Paridae )
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Poecile rufescens

Bushtits ( Aegithalidae )
Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus

Nuthatches ( Sittidae )
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis
Pygmy Nuthatch - Sitta pygmaea

Kinglets ( Regulidae )
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Corthylio calendula

Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
American Robin - Turdus migratorius

Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Allies ( Mimidae )
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos

Waxwings ( Bombycillidae )
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum

Wood-warblers ( Parulidae )
Orange-crowned Warbler - Leiothlypis celata
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Setophaga coronata
Black-throated Gray Warbler - Setophaga nigrescens
Townsend's Warbler - Setophaga townsendi

Tanagers ( Thraupidae )
Western Tanager - Piranga ludoviciana

Brushfinches, Seedeaters, Sparrows, and Allies ( Emberizinae )
Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
California Towhee - Melozone crissalis
Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca
Golden-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia atricapilla
White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys

American Blackbirds and Orioles ( Icteridae )
Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus
Western Meadowlark - Sturnella neglecta

Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
House Finch - Haemorhous mexicanus
Lesser Goldfinch - Spinus psaltria
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis

Old World Sparrows ( Passeridae )
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus


North America
San Francisco
United States


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