Fueled by the locavore movement, chickens are popping up across San Francisco’s backyards. But the rise of chickens means more than just an early wake up call.

The Call of the Chicken from Mission Local on Vimeo.

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Courtney Quirin is a trained wildlife ecologist turned environmental journalist with a knack for photography and visual storytelling. Though her interests span many topics and disciplines, she's particularly keen on capturing multimedia stories pertaining to the global wildlife trade, human-wildlife relationships, food security, international development and the effects of global markets on local environments and cultural fabric. Courtney completed a MSc in Wildlife Management at the University of Otago, New Zealand, where she not only learned how to catch and tag fur seals (among many things) but also traveled to the highlands of Ethiopia to identify the nature and extent of farmer-primate conflict and its linkages to changes in political regime, land tenure, food security, and perceptions of risk. From New Zealand Courtney landed at The Ohio State University to investigate urban coyotes for her PhD, but just shy of 2 years deep into the degree, she realized that her true passions lie within investigative journalism. Since moving into the world of journalism, Courtney has been a contributor to Bay Nature Magazine, a ghostwriter for WildAid, and the science writer for Academia.edu. While at Berkeley's J-School Courtney will focus on international environmental reporting through the lens of documentary filmmaking and TV.

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  1. One major concern about urban chickens that wasn’t mentioned in this story is the levels of lead in urban soils and how much of that lead shows up in chickens who peck around in that soil, and in their eggs:


    It sure beats the concerns about noise and smell. Since the video shows the chickens out of their coops pecking in soil with no mulch barrier, I sincerely hope these interviewees have had their soil tested.

    This why I’ll never eat eggs laid by chickens on an urban farm, unless I’m raising them myself.

    1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing that link. I’d always considered getting a chicken or two, but now, before I move forward with that plan I’ll get my soil tested.