Buddhist Chickens Guide New Bernal Neighbor on Path to Nirvana


Neighbor Maggie recently moved to the upper elevations of Peralta, where shes been exploring Zen and the Art of Exploring Bernal Heights:

My first few weeks living in Bernal were like a fairy tale. They continue to be, but the first weeks of anything feel like a dream-state because everything is brand new. Every time I left my house, the tallest one of the top of a hill, I set out in a different direction. Moving from Brooklyn – where you are forced to walk in a grid no matter how hard you try to stray – it was like a “chose your own adventure” every time I walked my pup, Miko.

Most often, I let her decide where we went. She’s usually the one to find the little paths and secret stairways and gardens that make Bernal so charming and calming. One day we happened upon these very zen chickens. They have their own coop, a fenced in backyard, and a great garden view. It comes complete with a little Buddha that I’ve often seen them cuddled next to – completely chilled out, even when a little mutt is curiously sniffing around them.

Every day we take an adventure in Bernal, every day brings a new gift, and every day I feel grateful to live here.

PHOTO: Neighbor Maggie

Bernal Neighbors Baffled by Big Bird of Prey


Over the weekend Bernalwood received several reports that a rather large bird of prey  had been seen loitering in several Bernal Heights back yards. It began when this big bird was spotted in the backyard of Neighbor @Mop_Head, who speculated that the creature might be a Peregrine Falcon.

On Sunday, Neighbor Erin spotted a similar bird near College Avenue:

Over on Facebook, there were many theories. Perhaps it’s a juvenile red-tailed hawk? Or a coopers hawk? Or maybe a kestrel?

So what kind of critter is it? To answer that, Bernalwood shared the photos with ace birdwatcher Neighbor John, who theorizes:

A little hard to tell, but I’d say it is a juvenile Coopers Hawk. It’s a bit difficult to tell the size and a super similar looking hawk, though smaller is a Sharp Shinned.

Both are reasonably common around here. It would be great to think that this might be one of the two Red Tails that fledged from the nest on the north side of Bernal a month or two ago, but it’s too small and doesn’t have the right markings. For me the key is the dark stripe on the underside of its neck. Peregrines have a mostly white neck. As Coopers get older they add a rufous color to their necks and shoulders. And, as with all hawks, seeing them in flight is key to identification.

UPDATE: 3 August, 1 pm: Neighbor John and his bird-spotting son Eddie shot this photo this morning on the hill.  John says:

Eddie and I saw a hawk on our walk this morning, both in flight and in the tree above the Gates steps on the south side of the hill (see attached photo), and the young birder is “very clear” that it is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk:


Neighbor Tamara reports that she spotted this bird on the hill two days ago:


PHOTOS: Top, @MOP_HEAD; below, @ecmesser

Housing Shortage Becomes Fodder for Twee Bernal Birdhouse Humor


There comes a point in every Bay Area economic boom where housing is scarce and rents are through the roof when some jokester comments about renting out the garage, or the doghouse, or a tent in the yard for an absurd amount of money. (Although, turns out, the tent in the yard is real.)

Citizens of Bernalwood, we have reached that moment. Neighbor Robert shared this photo of a birdhouse he spotted on Precita.

For Rent!! LOLZ!! But wait… it’s a trend!

Neighbor Valerie spotted two more birdhouses on offer around Coleridge:

But here’s the thing: Market forces tell us that $3000 a month is actually a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a birdhouse, because Neighbor Robert also spotted a very innnnnnnnnteresting property listing in The Mission.

It’s an entire studio apartment, and it could be yours for just $2500:

2015-07-04 17.24.25

What a bargain!

PHOTOS: Robert Weiner



Bernal Pride Was Kind of Colorful; Kind of Jiggly


On Sunday afternoon, Neighbor Leslie (Disclosure: your Bernalwood editor’s sweetie) went for a stroll in Bernal Heights, where she stumbled upon a rather charming neighborhood Pride Party in progress on the world-famous Lundys Landing.

Neighbor Leslie reports there was plenty of laughter and good cheer at the scene, which was to be expected. What she did not expect was to find, however, was a very special, jiggly treat: Pride-themed Jello Shots!

Citizens of Bernalwood, this is what a proper neighborly Pride welcome looks like:


PHOTOS: LeslieJ on Instagram

Bernal Neighbor Witnesses Dramatic Bee Swarm Rescue on Cesar Chavez


Neighbor Miles was on the scene yesterday as a group of volunteers rallied to help rescue a hive of bees that had become stranded near the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Valencia Street.

Here with an exclusive Bernalwood Action News report, let’s go to Neighbor Miles:

First time I’ve ever seen one of these! What struck me was the brief, random, yet intense intersection of the people on the scene.

At 4:30 yesterday afternoon in front of St Lukes, a cloud of bees surround three men and a woman as they carefully positioned a large cardboard box on the sidewalk. The box was crawling with bees, and the largest man is gently dust panning more bees into the box. The bees were everywhere yet no one was getting stung.

One man went to get a roll of tape, while the large man took a plastic water bottle and sprinkling the bees.

The woman explained the bees are looking for a new hive. (Editor’s Note This video of the incident tells us the queen bee was the main passenger in the cardboard box.)  The woman said she keeps bees herself, and she was smiling broadly.

She didn’t not know the fist two men, but explained that they were from Slovienia (?!) and will be taking the bees north with them as they are heading past Marin. The third man, who was at one point, he tells me, covered all over his head and chest with bees, is like me: ignorant about the business of bees. His eyes were wide with shock and thrill.

“No,” he said, “I’ve never had 50 bees crawing on me.”

The tape arrived, and people became fully relaxed and happy, and they began Instagramming pictures. A security guard from the hospital came out to thank everyone.

The men climbed in their work van with the bee box, pulled a U-turn, and were gone.

PHOTO: Miles Epstein

Neighbor Finds Vintage Valentine in Bernal Heights Home


Neighbor Tom found something mysterious and wonderful hidden in the rafters of his Bernal Heights:

Look what I found while renovating my house!

It’s an olde-stylee valentine card. From some brief googling, I think it is:

  • Circa 1920s, maybe 1930s
  • From a woman with a German name (Jizella)
  • To a man with a German name (Helme ?)
  • Made in America

I found it in the ‘side attic’ in our 1907 house on Mullen Ave, under some insulation.

The question is, was it lost there? Or squirreled away for safe keeping? Or left for future generations to find?