Meet The Animals
On Saturdays at 11 a.m., a special selection of the Randall Museum’s
animal ambassadors venture from their cages, pens, and perches to greet museum
visitors up-close! Kids and their families can meet rodents and
amphibians; check out a Harris’ Hawk; and maybe even touch a tortoise!
The Randall Museum is home to over 100 animals that can no longer survive
in the wild. Some are injured so they cannot hunt for food or protect themselves
from predators. Others were born in captivity or kept as pets so they never
learned how to live in the wild. At the Museum these animals can help visitors
learn about and appreciate California's diverse and disappearing wildlife.
WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)
The Western Bluebird you see inside the Animal Room’s Small Bird Aviary is
originally from Santa Barbara.
It suffered a broken clavicle and is now unable to sustain flight.
The Western Bluebird is a common resident of open grasslands, ranches and
agricultural areas throughout much of
California. It is often seen sitting
perched on barbed wire fences then sallying down to the ground to capture insect
prey. Sallying is a term used by ornithologists to describe the bluebird’s
hunting technique of flying out suddenly from a standing/perching position to
capture prey. Bluebirds are prized by farmers and ranchers as a natural form of
Western Bluebird populations have suffered declines in many areas from
competition for nesting cavities with introduced European Starlings and House Sparrows and possibly due to insecticide. Efforts to
bring them back include installation of nesting boxes.
Western Bluebirds disappeared from San Francisco as a nesting species in
the mid 1930s. In 2004, the first San Francisco
bluebird nest in almost 70 years was discovered in a tree cavity in the
Presidio. Since then, they have increased in numbers and it is believed that as
many as a dozen pairs in the Presidio and
Lincoln Park call the City their home.