Town Crier: Follow prairie falcon’s marvelous trek from East Bay — to Montana

MONTCLARION: August 16, 2013

He was a handsome young fellow — resting on a fence post in Southwestern Montana. Where was he headed — and where had he been? It turns out the chocolate brown prairie falcon was born here in the East Bay — and flew all the way to Montana’s Centennial Valley sometime last month.

He was “probably the most approachable prairie falcon I’ve ever met in the wild,” says photographer Ron Dudley, who got close enough to see a big chaw of grasshopper in the bird’s beak. He also saw something else — a green band on its left leg that was issued to Doug Bell, a wildlife program manager for the East Bay Regional Parks District.

Bell’s team had banded the bird and its two baby siblings May 31 after a harrowing climb to the nest, which had fallen out of a tree and onto a narrow rock ledge in the Diablo Range.

“Assuming that he fledged at about 38 days of age, this very young bird made it all the way to Montana less than six weeks later,” writes Dudley on his wildlife website.

If you’ve ever wondered where birds go when they take to the air — this story will capture your imagination. Check out the photos at

Around town: Speaking of birds, be on the lookout for dead birds or squirrels that may be carrying the West Nile Virus. A dead jay found on Ironwood near Elysian Fields has tested positive for the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes. The CDC says to drain any standing water where mosquitoes might breed and be aware of the symptoms, which can be severe for about 20 percent of all cases. See

Village news: Montclair’s new street banners really pop — and are actually part of a puzzle. Local artist Ron Rifkin says the four different banner designs all fit together to form one image of the Village, which will eventually be painted on a mural in Montclair. Rifkin’s shop, The Design Office, worked closely with Oakland illustrator Michael Wertz on this project. You can also see their work at the annual Oaktoberfest on Oct. 5.

Better branding: What’s in a name? Visit Oakland is about to find out after hiring a Chicago advertising agency to develop a destination brand. CHWA, with an office in Emeryville, will come up with a plan to market Oakland as travel destination for individuals and group conventions. Speaking of marketing, August 20 is the deadline for photographers who want to enter the Faces of Oakland photo contest. For details and prizes, see

On stage: It’s the last weekend to catch “A Chorus Line” at the Woodminster Theater. There’s lots of backstage drama to this 1970s musical, which means it may not be the best choice for children. But for adults, this show still has legs — as it underscores the heartbreaks and triumphs that dancers face in trying to make it on Broadway.


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