Wildlife Impacts have not been evaluated.
No one seems to be aware of the wildlife using the forest. Eucalyptus is a valuable resource for bees, because it blooms year round. Eucalyptus honey has a distinctive flavor. The blackberry undergrowth provides cover for small birds and animals, as well as edible berries. UCSF says the underbrush removal will take place after the nesting season. Very well; but what happens the following year when there are no nesting areas for the birds?
The dense forest provides cover for all kinds of wildlife. Reducing the forest cover is likely to harm these birds and animals.
Great Horned Owls are known to nest there; an article in the March 09 Nature in the City newsletter describes a crow attack on an owl’s nest. We saw the pair in February 2010 at dusk, hooting softly to each other… here are the photographs.
Raccoons are regularly visible, and skunks and opossums have been seen. One Forest Knolls resident saw a fox, and someone saw a coyote.
No one has made a study of birds, but juncos, chickadees, sparrows, and Northern Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers are clearly using the forest. In nearby Alamo Park, a pygmy nuthatch was observed on a eucalyptus tree, and a report on the Interior Greenbelt (contiguous to Sutro Forest) says they nest there.
Updated to Add: Keith McAllister sent us this list from a day’s birding around the forest in late March 2010. (See our March 29th post for illustrations.)
Birds seen and/or heard in Sutro Forest (including Green Belt forest south of Clarendon)
Scrub Jay (on house in residential area)
Varied Thrush (or Song Sparrow mimicking Varied Thrush?)
Cedar Waxwing (in pine tree at forest/Twin Peaks boundary)
Red-masked parakeet (flying over)
Bird’s seen in Native Plant Garden on Mt. Sutro
(These birds were also seen in the forest outside the garden.)
Birds seen on Twin Peaks
Golden-crowned Sparrow (maybe, or maybe immature White-crowned)
According to David Suddjian of Biological Consulting Services, and a wellknown bird expert, around 90 species of birds regularly use eucalyptus forests. In his unpublished paper he examines the relationship between eucalyptus and birds in the Monterey area.
And from the birding blog of Harry Fuller, a paean of praise to the blackberry:
“The much-maligned invasive Himalayan blackberry is rampant here and beloved of birds and amblers alike. Native plant purists descry its spread and robustness, the birds seem to primarily notice the fruit in season, the protection of the brambles year round. The sun-warmed blackberries near the creeks are most luscious, seductive in a way that is probably illegal in several states. Fructose raised to a transcendant height. The birds have an even keener eye for the ripe ones than mere humans. And I watched in awe as a Western Tanager slurped down a berry as big as my thumb, protected from human intervention by several yards of stiff berry canes with their protective thorns on sharp display.”