Deer sticking tongue out

Deer sticking tongue out

Berkeley, California is known as a nutty town, and this morning even the wildlife seemed wacky. I don’t usually post photos, but just couldn’t resist sharing these pictures from this morning’s after-breakfast walk in the hilly  neighborhood above Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto.”  This deer couple above were camped out in a secluded front yard. One had a strange floppy tongue, retracted only when she chewed an itch.

OCD Bird
OCD Bird

This bird was stuck in a loop of peering into the mirror of a parked car, attacking his image, jumping atop the mirror, and then coming back to see if the bird was still there, and attacking it again. I tried to shoo him away, but he started the loop again when I walked away. Do birds get OCD?

Chickens on a log

Chickens on a log

These chickens had a huge yard to themselves but gathered together in one tiny corner, all trying to all perch on the same chunk of log. Makes you wonder about how important “free range” really is to chickens.

Catwalk 1

Catwalk (see below)

And then there are the people. These neighbors  built a second story bridge between their two houses for their cats. (above and below)

Cat crossing between two houses

Cat crossing between two houses

And these humble homeowners hung this on their modest bungalow in a neighborhood where even a 3-room shack is worth half a million dollars.

Happy Hovel

Happy Hovel

And then there were the bird lovers…

For Birds

For Birds

…and goose lovers…

Window Goose

Window Goose (I hope it's plastic!)

and Monkey madness and…

Monkey ornament

Surprised Monkey garage ornament

and just plain madness…

Australia: One hour tmie limit

Australia: One hour time limit

That’s a dismantled parking meter below the Australia sign.  Their whole front yard was filled with similar flotsam and jetsam.

Welcome to Berkeley

Welcome to Berkeley

Of course I would have preferred to sketch these sights, but I was walking with a non-sketching friend whose patience was already tried by my taking photos, let alone stopping to sketch. And now I’m even further behind posting all the sketches and paintings I’ve been working on.

Animals, Berkeley, Life in general, Places
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Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. Greetings Jana,

    I loved this post! I thought I knew Berkeley well, but you are going to have to tell me where you walked because I am amazed at what you have discovered. Sorry to learn your friend did not share in your findings, because as I look at your selection of images, it seems you have captured Berkeley’s essence very well.

    So where ere the chickens? I hope to be raising some here in our backyard this summer if I can get them past the wife.

    Warmest regards,

    • Hi Egmont, I think the chickens were on the corner of Rose and Arch. We walked up Rose to Glen and followed Glen for quite a way, past Eunice near the Rose Garden and then circling back down to Rose and Shattuck where we’d parked. We also explored a couple of those wonderful hidden alleys and paths that are sprinkled throughout the Berkeley hills. I would love to have chickens too, except that I don’t think I could take the heartbreak that all of my chicken-rearing friends have suffered from the too clever raccoons and other predators. Those that still have chickens have had to practically build or buy chicken castles to keep them safe.


  2. These are interesting photos. I think the one of the chickens close together could make for a lovely painting of shapes, colours, textures.

    • Thanks Wendy, I must admit I’m tempted…but may try to go visit the chickens again in person instead. Unlike other chickens I’ve tried to draw, these guys seemed to be really into holding a pose. If only I could have sketched right then. Jana

  3. Honestly, good thing I am familiar with Berkeley. What a whack-a-doodle expedition you had! Those chickens just about killed me.

  4. Oh, goodness! This is a great post; Berkeley is full of eye candy! I just love that bird!

  5. And to add to the wildlife weirdness, there were partridges at my bird feeder yesterday, mingling amongst the sparrows!

    • And the day only got weirder…I was awakened in the wee hours by the smell of skunk so strong my nose hurt and I couldn’t get back to sleep. It finally went away, thank goodness. Jana

  6. What fun photos! Thank you for sharing them. Brings back fond memories of the area.

  7. What fun, I loved the photos. Especially the deer with the floppy tongue.

  8. […] Deers with floppy tongues, birds with OCD: wild in Berkeley [Jana's Journal] Have you seen my ant? [SFist] Is there a Downtown plan stalemate? [Daily Cal] […]

  9. This is great, Jana! After watching the documentary “Manufactured Landscapes” last night, it’s so encouraging to see wildlife so close to where we work and live. The industrialization of China and the incredible pollution and displacement of people and wildlife is really incredible.

    • Thanks Ed. I was amazed at how much wildlife there really is close by (and grateful for my walking pal’s keen eye to spot them). I’m reading “Crow Planet” which advocates studying nature around all around us, even if it’s “just” crows (which often is the case as they can survive where other critters displaced by concrete cannot), rather than thinking we have to go someplace called “Nature” to do so. I even enjoy watching the pigeons who still manage to nest at my BART station, despite the many interventions to keep them away. Jana

      Jana Bouc Sketchblog: Website:

  10. Loving the visit back to Berserkeley.

  11. That deer with the floppy tongue has been around for a couple years. She’s frequently in our back yard on Eunice Street and I’ve also seen her up on Le Roy. Either last year or the year before she had twin fawns. But I haven’t seen her with any progeny since. Her tongue appears to be a congenital condition that does not interfere in anyway with her ability to eat and she always looks healthy and well fed. But so do most of the deer that revolve around the park and near by back yards.

    • Jenny, Thank you so much for writing. I didn’t want to say too much about it in the post, but I was worried about her. It did seem she was able to eat without any problem. I’m so glad to hear she’s OK and that it’s just congenital not illness.

      I know many think of the deer (and other local wildlife) as a nuisance, but I love seeing them so close to home!

      Thanks again, Jana

  12. My dog walks around with her tongue hanging out too, but I’m sure it’s not a congenital condition. She also looks for reflections of herself behind the object like that bird does. Very funny posts, Jana! I’m really amazed that someone would (a) build a second story “cat walk” and (b) ruin their car with bird stickers (I can’t even bring myself to put a bumper sticker on my car).

    Sounds like a fun day taking photos!

    • Hi Krista, Actually that nearly new Prius is *painted *with all the birds, plus the bumper stickers on the bumpers! The house it’s in front of is owned by the guy that wrote the book on Art Cars.


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