Quirky Wildlife Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area Invites Readers to Connect with and Conserve Local Species

This antidote to dry field guides from advocate Jeff Miller shares detailed portraits of over 100 native creatures with illustration from eco-philosopher Obi Kaufmann

ON-SALE: November 12, 2024

BERKELEY, CALIF. — As habitat loss and climate breakdown endanger ever more animal species, conservationist Jeff Miller invites fellow Bay Area denizens to embrace their local fauna through his delightful new book Bay Area Wildlife: An Irreverent Guide (on sale November 12, 2024). Featuring over 100 native creatures, spanning mammalian, marine, avian, amphibian and invertebrate species, this informative primer is a treasure map for regional wildlife that enlists readers to join the ranks of the world’s wildlife defenders.

Miller, a decades-long advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, draws on his vast knowledge of the San Francisco Bay bioregion—an area spanning over 2 million acres of open space—to cast spotlights on the whereabouts and personalities of Northern California’s furred, feathered, and fork- tongued neighbors—from “screaming death parrots” (aka Peregrine falcons) to “bad-ass Looney Tunes velociraptors” (roadrunners). His colorful descriptions offer a compilation of each species’ natural history and fun facts—like that elephant seals have the loudest recorded burps (at 130 decibels) or that a group of owls is collectively known as “a parliament.” Each section also includes tips on when and where to find each animal alongside watercolor illustrations by Obi Kaufmann (author and artist of the bestselling The California Field Atlas). Notes on each animal’s conservation status round out each of Miller’s portraits.

“The San Francisco Bay Area has been identified as one of the nation’s six most important biodiversity hotspots, but facing numerous severe threats,” says Miller, “Our journey to enjoy, protect and steward Bay Area wildlife can start by educating ourselves and others about the ecology, habitats, and interrelatedness of local plants and animals.”

By celebrating the charms of local animals, Bay Area Wildlife gives readers a stake in this ecosystem’s future. Sections on lost species underscore the adverse impacts of the Anthropocene—an era characterized by Miller as the “unraveling of life on Earth.” Miller closes his guide with entry points into local conservation initiatives, warning of the impending “Age of Loneliness”—a human-caused extinction wave that robs our planet of its biodiversity—and implores readers to turn away from anthropocentrism toward connectivity and symbiosis.

Advance Praise for Bay Area Wildlife

“Breezy to read, bite-sized accounts of fascinating creatures, be they colossal or minute, obvious or clandestine, slimy or sinewy, and furred, feathered or finned, hold the reader’s attention. This lovingly irreverent perspective on this rich and diverse area will assuredly captivate, astonish, educate, and always entertain.” 

Keith Hansen, author of Birds of Point Reyes

“Jeff Miller, a leading advocate for wild nature in the region, writes without stuffiness. He deploys ageless archetypes then segues to the science.” 

Ken Brower, author of Wake of the Whale

“A fun and easy guide to get to know many of the fascinating and diverse fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals (and even nudibranchs) of the Bay Area. Combining playful descriptions with excellent natural history observations, this book belongs in every nature-lover’s library.”

 —Laura Cunningham, author of A State of Change

“The Blazing Saddles of wildlife guides.” 

Jolene Griffith, Jeff’s mom

Media Contact:
Kalie Caetano
Marketing & Publicity Director, Heyday

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Jeff Miller is the founder of the Alameda Creek Alliance and has served as executive director since 1997. Jeff has spent the last quarter century protecting Bay Area wildlife habitat with the Center for Biological Diversity, where he helps with media outreach, writing endangered species listing petitions, and works on biodiversity issues and endangered species protection throughout California.