San Francisco Chronicle: Alameda Navy base now a much-sought wildlife Eden, May 5, 2012


California least terns are small and endangered, but they're not afraid of mayhem. After all, they nest on airport runways.

But in Alameda, the brave little birds have brought chaos to a whole new level. No fewer than five public agencies are haggling over the birds and the thriving habitat that has sprung up around them, in a fight that's likely to reshape several hundred acres of the Bay Area's most picturesque real estate.

"These birds migrate thousands of miles every year, but they always choose to come back to Alameda. They're ours," said Leora Feeney, an Alameda resident and retired biologist who has spent more than 20 years monitoring the terns. "Now we need to show them that Alameda knows how to take care of them."