When dozens of police officers in riot gear raided the occupied Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco early last Thursday morning, it seemed like the end of the road for this garden space. Activists from around the Bay Area had moved in on June 1 with the hopes of holding off the developers set to raze the farm and replace it with 182 condo units, retail space, and a parking garage. But after the early raid, a handful of arrests, and one activist falling 30 feet from a protest platform hung in a tree, it looked like time had run out.

That was before everyone met the Allen’s hummingbird.

Allenshummingbird
Susie Cagle

After developers moved in and began toppling trees, someone alerted them to nesting hummingbirds on the land, and the project was put on hold while biologists and wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated.