WACKIEST Acorn woodpecker, hands down. These clowns live in extended-family colonies, harvest acorns and then forget where they hid them. They make the Inner Quad ring with their zany laughter.

 

FRIENDLIEST California towhee. This abundant ground bird seeks bugs and other goodies in every faculty yard, allowing close approaches before flitting a few feet away. Notoriously incautious about cats; individuals may lack some tail feathers.

PESKIEST The Tresidder blackbirds. Flocks of bold lunch-scroungers, dominated by Brewer's blackbirds (shown here), are joined by red-winged blackbirds, European starlings and cowbirds.

MOST COLORFUL A matter of taste. If you like art deco, you might pick the acorn woodpecker. But those who prefer a subtler blend of blues and reds might choose the western bluebird, a common wintering species around the edges of campus and the Dish.

HEFTIEST Great horned owl. Though not as tall as the great blue heron, it's more imposing in power and bulk. A nesting pair drew lots of attention several years ago while raising a family on a window ledge in the burned-out wing of Encina Hall. The larger female stood about 2 feet tall.

TINIEST Thumb-sized Anna's hummingbird (shown here) seems the obvious choice. They're everywhere, especially noticeable when the males perform daring power-dives during courtship. But technically, they aren't the titleholders: in spring migration, a few slightly smaller Allen's hummers visit the campus.


Illustrations by Darryl Wheye