Google nesting site for shorebirds in Mountain View healthy and thriving

ByTim Didion and Dan Ashley KGO logo
Thursday, June 20, 2024
Google nesting site in Mountain View healthy and thriving
Tucked in the shadow of the Google campus, you can glimpse some of the most magnificent shorebirds in the Bay Area.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- For strolling nature lovers, a quiet block in Mountain View may be the busiest street in town. If you don't believe it, just look up.

Tucked in the shadow of the Google campus, you can glimpse some of the most magnificent shorebirds in the Bay Area. And like Camden Bac, maybe capture a picture or two.

"This is probably my favorite. It's a Great egret," said Camden, showing off a digital photograph from his camera.

The trees make up a nesting area known to bird experts as a rookery, where species ranging from herons to egrets perform a delicate dance of twig gathering and nest building.

Matthew Dodder is executive director of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. He says the birds chose the area themselves. But over the past decade, their neighbors have pitched in to make them feel at home.

MORE: Monterey Bay seeing 'unusual' surge in juvenile white sharks

"They like these trees, which were clearly planted here. At some point, Google moved in in 2014, and they discovered that the colony here, some of the locals might have known it was here already. But Google discovered it, and they sought the advice from Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory and tried to figure out how do we take care of these birds," Dodder said.

Steps included closing off the block of Shorebird Way to traffic during nesting. The efforts have paid off. Dodder says the rookery has continued to thrive, while others have faced ongoing pressures, including construction and increased traffic.

"This is about 20% of the monitored population of great egrets in the South Bay and the numbers do seem to be good," Dodder said.

And for visitors of all ages, it's a chance to experience the life cycle of these magnificent creatures, with a true bird's eye view.

"It is so the sounds are so beautiful that you could really just sit out here all day and just listen. It's so peaceful. It's very, very Zen," said one bird lover.

MORE: New butterflies introduced in SF's Presidio after species went extinct in 1940s

"Just the behaviors. It's really cool when you see, like, the herons hunting," adds Camden Bac.

And for Dash-Reina Aquino it's the element of surprise.

"Even though I don't know them, I don't know what kind of birds they are. They really look cool, so I started taking pictures," she said.

A flight of fancy, in a shady corner of the busy Bay Area. And the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has programs to help you join in on the fun. More information can be found here.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here