This week my column chronicles a team of West Coast birders who attempt to break the record for spotting the most species in San Francisco in a 24-hour span.
As of 5:30 a.m. on April 18, the record was 149 species, which was set in 2007 by birdwatchers in a car. And the record for those birders on bikes was 138 species. By 10 p.m. that same day, those records still stood, despite the fact that Josiah Clark and his partners, Dominik Mosur and Brian Turner, had tried to break it while on bikes.
They spotted 136 species, spending the last hour of their journey on a futile wild snipe hunt in the Presidio.
Their attempt took them through the hidden urban ecosystems of San
Francisco, which in some areas, such as Lake Merced, Pine Lake Park, and
the Presidio, have been recently restored to closely resemble diverse
plant-and-animal habitats that existed thousands of years ago.
Clark and his team barely missed their previous bike-birding record, they showed how San Francisco, despite being one of the country's
most densely populated cities in the west, is also the heartland of a growing urban-ecology movement.
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