SAN FRANCISCO - It lasted for just a few seconds, but this short clip of a curious bird making a surprise appearance in a KTVU weather forecast has been seen millions of times.
It was an ordinary weather segment on the 4 pm news earlier this month. Media outlets, along with Facebook and Twitter, propelled this video from the United States to the U.K to New Zealand.
The camera that caught it all is attached to Sutro Tower, a San Francisco landmark. Since that particular weather segment, people wanted to know what kind of bird showed up and where the camera was located. It took a trip to the top to get to the bottom of it.
"They are incredibly intelligent birds. One reason you were being photo bombed is that the raven…because it so intelligent is also very curious," said Ted Robertson a biologist with Condor Country Consulting.
Robertson said the clear profile of the bird in on our camera left no doubt it was a raven.
"It was such a great close-up shot. You have great cameras up there that I was able to see a tiny little hook at the tip of the bill," he said.
To see that particular camera, KTVU Meteorologist Mark Tamayo headed up a tiny elevator just 33 by 27 inches. It was an 8 minute ride 750 feet up.
Level six of Sutro Tower truly provided a bird's eye view. The weather camera is actually on level four. It's been there for three years.
"The birds are flying around here all of the time. They sometimes nest here and they are a constant presence here, but that is the first one to actually get on air," said David Hyams, Director of Communications for Sutro Tower.
While this bird was ordinary, its timing and perching spot were extraordinary. The words written by Edgar Allen poe in his poem, the raven, took on a modern meaning.
"The raven is tap, tapping at my chamber door. So I kind of imagine him he was tap, tapping at your camera door," said Hyams.
We’ll see if there are more taps on this camera in a future forecast.