I thought my photography walk was done for the day. I was in sight of my parked car, thinking of home. Then I saw the silhouette of a bird about the size of a sparrow perched on a No Parking sign on Spinnaker Way in the construction zone. I got lucky; the bird held its post while I maneuvered into position for a better angle. What a beautiful bird! It then flew to the grass, foraged for something — probably bugs — then onto a low branch in a cypress tree, then higher up and out of my view.
The last time I saw one of these inside the park was four years ago (“Western Bluebird in the Park,” Jun 11 2018). That was also a male, like this one. I only saw a female once, in the nearby Berkeley Meadow (Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park). The Cornell Lab shows these birds breeding in the summer in the Sierra, but present on our coast year round. So this male possibly has a mate and just might be nesting locally. They build their nests in tree cavities and similar holes, and will inhabit nest boxes built for them. They tend to eat berries in winter, switching to insects and other protein during the breeding season.
I loved how this bird adapted to the chaos of the ongoing road construction project, picking a street sign as a perch. This is a wilderness bird, not a species habituated to being around people, like pigeons. Yet here it was, on a street sign in a park. Their numbers have been in decline in recent years. Maybe this individual is the indicator of a comeback.