How Children Draw ‘Save the Eucalyptus Trees’

Someone sent us these amazing ‘Save the Eucalyptus’ posters, produced by the children in political artist and printmaker Doug Minkler’s art class. They’re used with permission. [Edited to add the artists’ names.]

(If your kids are drawing pictures of San Francisco’s wild lands or its birds and animals and trees that you’d like displayed, we’d be happy to use them on this site. Please attach them to an email to SFForestNews at and be sure to give permission for us to put them up.)

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Save the Eucalyptus by Desiree Minkler

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The Morning Before the Loggers Came – Desiree Minkler


Whoos For Us? – Tacy Prins Woodlief

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No More Homeless Owls – Blake Bogert


Poisoned Water – Ayumi Beeler

Rat Poison Killed the Glen Canyon Owl

We’ve just heard back about the results of the necropsy on the barn owl found dead in near Glen Canyon. As suspected, it died of consuming rodents poisoned with rat poison.  This is the letter we received.

Edited to Add: If you would like to spread the word to people not to use rodenticides, we have a flyer/ poster you could use. It’s here as a PDF: Avoid rat poison to save owls

The dead Barn Owl we found and took to WildCare for rodenticide testing, Patient #1754, was found, indeed, to have died of rat poisoning.

dead barn owl found in Glen Canyon Park

Many people don’t know that when a hawk or owl or other predator eats a poisoned rodent, that animal gets poisoned too. Please STOP using rat poisons (rodenticides)! These poisons are killing the very animals, like this Barn Owl, that naturally control rodents.

The Barn Owl was found to be internally toxic, diffusely discolored and badly hemorrhaged throughout. There was evidence of a heavy load of the rodenticide brodifacoum in her system — enough to kill her.

Shockingly, over 86% of tested WildCare patients show evidence of exposure to rat poisons! These animals are eating poisoned rodents and carrying varying loads of toxic poison in their systems as a result. Rat poison used by residents of San Francisco is having dangerous and detrimental effects on the wildlife of our area. A Great Horned Owl was found dead last year due to the same rat poisoning.

Rat poisons kill by making whatever animal eats them bleed to death internally – slowly and painfully. While the poisoned rats or mice are still alive, they (and their deadly load of poison) can be consumed by other predators including cats and dogs. Rodents are the basic food source for a number of different predators all the way up the food chain. It is a terrifying prospect; to kill many animals while targeting only one. We need to find better ways to live well with wildlife.

If you need help with any wildlife issues, please contact WildCare Solutions at 415.456.7283 (456-SAVE), or

Barn Owls are one of the most common owl species in the country, but seeing one, especially in the City, is always a treat. These silent nocturnal hunters often appear completely white against the night sky as they glide over open spaces in search of rodent prey. A family of Barn Owls can eat over 3,000 rodents in a single 4-month breeding season, which makes them a magnificent source of rodent pest control, but also one of the most common victims of secondary rodenticide poisoning. Barn Owls nest early in the season, usually producing eggs sometime between January and March.

A special thanks to everyone who made a contribution to the testing, especially to the San Francisco Forest Alliance for their substantial donation. 

Thank you for taking the initiative in finding out what killed her. It’s a first step in spreading the word to save other owls.

Rehabilitated Owl Returned to Glen Canyon

It’s so wonderful to be able to post good news about Glen Canyon and its fauna. Wildlife photographer Janet Kessler recently sent around this item about a one-eyed owl that has been released in the Canyon after rehabilitation. This post has been republished from Saving the trees of Glen Canyon Park.


owl eye treatmentThe injured owl found in a Glen Canyon neighbor’s yard in September has been rehabilitated and returned! We now have a one-eyed Great Horned Owl living in the area.

The Peninsula Human Society (PHS), which rehabilitated the owl, found blood pooling in both of the owl’s eyes — something often seen with head trauma, and there was ulceration of one eye. However, unusually for trauma, there were no broken bones and the beak was not injured, so the cause of the injury still remains a mystery. The PHS treated the owl for a month with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain medication, and kept the owl long enough for the blood to drain out of the eyes.

When all was said and done, one eye had recovered, but the other will remain permanently blind. A friend suggested we name the owl “One Eyed Jack”!

2013-09-30 at 10-50-12 one-eyed great horned owlGreat Horned Owls have large eyes proportional to their bodies, so removing the blind eye was not an option since this could have affected the owl’s balance during flight.

Even with one eye, this owl will be able to perceive depth and hunt accurately. The asymmetrical ear positions on the sides of their heads help owls perceive the location of their prey.

Please call Animal Care & Control, WildCare (a rescue organization), or Peninsula Humane Society if you find an injured wild animal. There is a possibility the animal can be saved, and it definitely can be kept from further pain.

Thanks! Janet Kessler

Glen Canyon Coyote by Tony Holiday

 As many park visitors know, it’s sometimes possible to see coyotes in our parks. Tony Holiday, a San Francisco hiker and blogger,  was one of the lucky ones on this hike through Glen Canyon. (Go to his blog, Stairways are Heaven, for more hikes and photographs.) This photo-essay is one of our Park Visitor series – first-person accounts of visits to our San Francisco Natural Areas.  It’s abridged from the original post, Canyon Coyote,  on Stairways Are Heaven.


The #52 Excelsior runs along Elk and Diamond Heights Blvd  a short distance with a nice view of Glen Canyon’s treetops below. Such a uniquely beautiful forest down there…
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Sometimes I walk over from the Glen Park BART station, winding up on the way, usually crossing the skyway over Bosworth.
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There’s a stairway down into the Canyon from Elk St. just past all the construction still going on in the lower part (where I never go anyway). Sometimes I take the bus up to the Diamond Heights Shopping Center to descend from the west edge of Christopher Park next door, or come back up this way to get something at the Safeway after my hike, then wind down the narrow streets on the bus.
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Opalo Lane (83 steps), is just behind the Safeway and conveniently leads up to Gold Mine. tony holiday glen canyon 4344512_orig
Really like the newer stairway on the north side of the rocks with 68 steps. The extended stairway on the south side (61 steps) still has that black fencing next to it.

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So down at the Canyon floor looking for berries. Not finding many, headed for “my” less-traveled northernmost trail. tony holiday glen canyon 6940120_orig

To reach it, I have to first climb to a slightly higher trail at the end of the main Canyon tree-limb trail, then go back down again after a short distance …

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… stepping over Islais Creek  and several tree limbs  to get to the trail that runs along a school’s playing field and dead-ends in a tangle of bushes.

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No sooner had I scrambled over the first trailhead limbs than a young coyote came galloping round a curve towards me. He or she stopped short and stared for a few seconds, like “What’re you doing on this trail?” Unfortunately, by the time I’d dug my camera out, distracted by that beautiful face, off it went back the way it came. Continued picking berries for a short time, assuming it was probably curiously observing me from some off-trail spot.

After climbing back out from the trail to continue south along the higher trail that’s just below Diamond Heights stilt-houses on Turquoise, the coyote young’un had come up the same way a short distance behind me and was now out in the open. My impression is that it wanted to play. I tried for a couple of shots. Sorry it’s not very close.

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Again, we looked at each other, then it turned tail and loped away. Too bad I wasn’t quicker the first time as it was considerably closer then. Back up the new stairway and onto a different trail (36 steps) …

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… instead of the longer stairway/trail, 86 or so steps down from Christopher Park, that I descended earlier (from the view bench at the top).

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The shorter one will take you to the through Canyon-top trail that starts at the west edge of Christopher Park and continues out to Turquoise, Amber, and the Coralino stairway.


Tony Holiday likes meandering around on San Francisco’s park trails and public stairways, sometimes taking photos, and enjoying nature and the outdoors.

Coyote Pups, Our Pets, and Us – Getting Along

As frequent visitors to our urban wildlands and parks probably know already, coyotes are part of our city’s wildlife. They travel over considerable distances alone or in family groups, so you could actually see them anywhere (though wildlands where they can hunt gophers are probably the best bet).  And – this is coyote pupping season. Pups have already been seen in Golden Gate Park and elsewhere.

Coyote pups.  Janet Kessler

Coyote pups. Janet Kessler


It might be helpful to know as much as possible about what behavior to expect from them, especially in relation to ourselves and pets. For a one-stop informational video presentation — the most up-to-date there is — please view CoyoteCoexistence.Com‘s new video,  Coyotes As Neighbors: Focus On Facts.  Here’s the video:

If you have specific questions or issues, you may contact them at coyotecoexistence at for one-on-one assistance.

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Coyote Pups Alert. Janet Kessler