For many of us, it was the last straw when, in mid-August, the East Bay Regional Park District closed most of its parks because of an unprecedented number of local wildfires. Our one solution to lockdown-induced cabin fever — heading for the big outdoors — had been cruelly wrested away from us.
Unfortunately, nature played it both ways this year. It was also behind many of our most anxiety-inducing days — whether it was the time the skies turned orange because of the devastating regional wildfires, being shaken awake by a earthquake, or another Red Flag warning putting hill residents on alert and shutting off their power.
But then there were UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcon chicks. The university’s webcams perched high atop the Campanile documented the whole fascinating story of three new offspring for returning parents Annie and Grinnell — from the laying of eggs to the three young birds flying the nest. Watching the wildlife adventure proved a welcome escape for several shelter-in-place months.
Here are five stories about nature and wildlife that lifted the spirits this year.