It’s that time of the year: Habitat removal time. In Glen Canyon Park, bushes and small trees that provide an impenetrable thicket for birds and animals to take cover are now becoming a lot more penetrable…
… and bright-berried bushes, food source for the same birds and animals, are soon to be gone.
Meanwhile, there will be pesticides. The preferred pesticides this year for Natural Areas is glyphosate (Aquamaster), the pesticide linked to birth defects; and imazapyr (Polaris), the pesticide that sticks around. We’ve written about a recent application on Mt Davidson recently, now here they are in Glen Canyon Park.
We should mention that these photographs were sent to us by Glen Park neighbors, who were not pleased to see this activity.
We will give the SF RPD points for clearly marking what they’re doing, though. It’s good to know when there are poisons around. [ETA: Except, a neighbor who tried to call told us, the phone number is wrong. CORRECTION: Ralph Montana of IPM (415)
831-6314. ETA2: 831-6306 will take you to Ralph Montana. ]
So far, Mt Sutro seems to be the only wilderness in San Francisco where there have been no pesticides used in the last two years. (Thanks, UCSF!) We don’t know how long this will last. The planned projects call for pesticide use on the mountain.
We have often wondered about the long list of plants designated as “invasive” by the California Invasive Plant Council. As lifelong gardeners and observers of gardens, we’ve never seen any evidence that the berry-producing plants on this list are “invasive.” Holly, cotoneaster, and pyracantha are several conspicuous examples of non-native plants that produce berries but do not spread in our gardens, yet they are considered “invasive.”
The garden section of today’s Chronicle gives us a clue: “Berries are a little harder to come by if we follow the advice of native plant specialists who are concerned about escape of holly, cotoneaster and pyracantha into nearby wildlands, particularly in coastal counties. Birds that eat the fruit and deposit seeds are the culprits.”
In other words, the plants themselves are not invasive, but the birds eat their berries, poop the seeds elsewhere and sometimes those seeds sprout. In their zeal to eradicate all non-native plants, the Natural Areas Program and its allies deprive the birds of their food.
Since I like birds as much as I like plants, I find this a shocking strategy. But what is most shocking is that the Audubon Society supports these draconian projects. They are willing to literally take the food out of the mouths of birds because of their commitment to native plants. Wow! Now that’s weird.
One of the most interesting comments on the EIR for the Natural Areas Program came from a serious birder and member of the Audubon Society who has observed that the habitat and food sources of San Francisco’s birds are being destroyed. He noted that birders no longer visit places where all the non-native plants have been removed because there are no birds there.
If you are an Audubon member, do you support this needless destruction of the habitat and food of the birds of San Francisco? If not, why not tell the Audubon Society that its unholy alliance with native plant advocates is hurting the birds.
I have a copy of the original Audubon book: Birds of America. He didn’t bother with where these beautiful birds came from or where they went–they were just there.
What the hell are you people doing to our birds that be where there are?
Incidentally, I just rescued a stray young grebe at Ocean Beach, where it should not have been–nestled in cold wet sand, washed by waves, waiting to die. SF Animal Rescue people graciously took it to an appropriate release spot the next day.
Thanks for rescuing the bird… these kinds of things make a difference.!