Wildlife in the City

Bernal Hill

The Yellow Band visited Bernal Hill as one of our first trips to a large green space in the City. Bernal has a resident coyote, so we looked for signs that it lives here.

Yellow Banders found signs alerting us to coyotes in the area.

We can do it!


We attempted to see if we could find Brightworks from here.

Breaks were necessary, it’s quite a climb to the top!

May stopped to rehydrate and take in the view.

In the end, Yellow Banders found some scat that they believed to be from a coyote. Could be!

The Yellow Band was left with a lot of questions after visiting Bernal Hill. Where could the coyote’s den be? What does it eat? Thankfully, we have our own resident coyote expert here at Brightworks and invited her to present her findings on the Bernal coyote.

Freddie explained that many people mistake coyotes for carnivores, but they’re actually omnivores here in the City eating anything they can find, including trash. She also explained how some coyotes have traveled quite far to live here, and some people have even shot video of coyotes crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin. It is suspected that the coyote on Bernal lives in some dense brush near the bottom of the hill. That’s not where we expected!

As we continue to explore nature and how we interact with it in the City, we’ve come to a few conclusions as to why coyotes might be going to such great lengths to live here, but not before having a little fun with a math provocation by exploring the speed at which coyotes travel.

First, we started with what we know: Coyotes run about 43 mph at full speed which is approximately 63 feet per second. The length of our block from 18th to Mariposa is 466 feet. So, how fast could a coyote run the length of our block at full speed? We know that most likely when coyotes travel they’re not going full speed, so we figure if they’re going that fast then mostly it’s to get away from something or to hunt.


May records how she breaks up the numbers to add them. Kiddos generally liked to add 63 (or double it) until they got close to 466. Each time they added 63 they added another second to the time it would take a coyote.

Yellow Banders concluded it would take about 7 seconds for a coyote to run the length of our block. We discussed the reasons why coyotes would be traveling into or around the City in the first place and were reminded of what we know about animals and their habitats. Kiddos explained how animals need food, water, and shelter to survive, and that if coyotes are looking for one of those things then most likely they’ll travel. Finding more territory was a topic of discussion as well. With human populations rising and more green spaces disappearing, kiddos realized that coyotes might often feel cramped and in need of new territory.

Animal Habitats at The Randall

We checked out the Randall to learn more about animal habitats and how animals adapt in the City. We discovered that many of these animals were in our own backyards or neighborhoods.

Sylvester and May learn about how wildlife has adapted to urban life in San Francisco.

Animal Research

Yellow Banders are beginning to learn about research and how to record their findings. We really enjoy Non-Fiction books and articles, maybe we’ll be able to write some of our own!

Ronin and Dash discuss with Nathan how bald eagles could face some obstacles when finding food if they aren’t able to find enough fish. If people continue to over-fish, the bald eagle may not have a consistent food source in the future.

Khalilah uses the information she highlighted in her resource about raccoons to fill in the information on her graphic organizer. Graphic organizers are a great way for kiddos to organize information before writing research in paragraph form.

Abir chose to learn more about coyotes saying, “One lives by my house!”

Calvin also chose to learn more about coyotes. It’s been a popular subject since our visit to Bernal Hill.


Yellow Banders also wrote fictional stories from the perspective of some of the animals we’ve been learning about.  To really get into character, they pretended to be their chosen animal while I opened and closed our front gate to pretend the sun was going down or coming up so that all the animals would have a chance to come out.


Thanks for reading, and keep on the lookout for wildlife and green spaces in your neighborhood!