The hole picture: Bird Rock formation getting ‘holier’

Resident predicts collapse

Bird Rock’s namesake geological formation offshore at the end of Bird Rock Avenue is getting “holier” these days.

No, Bird Rock’s big rock populated by brown pelicans and other bird species hasn’t gotten religion: just erosion.

“One of these days, there’s going to be a big wave that comes in, whoosh, and when it does, the rock is going to collapse,” predicted Don Schmidt, a Bird Rock resident and La Jolla Historical Society member who has watched the rock literally “washing away” the last couple of years. “I don’t think the entire rock is going to collapse — just one section that’s supporting it. It will just crack and fall. Hopefully, when it does, it will be high tide and nobody will be around.”

Bird Rock Realtor Trent Wagenseller said his son refers to the reconfigured Bird Rock as the “elephant.”

“In a certain light, you can see the ear and the trunk and the eye,” he said. “The arch is thin like a trunk.”

Wagenseller agreed the rock, as presently constituted, probably isn’t long for this world.

“I give it no more than two years to completely fall,” he said. “If we have another winter like we did this year — it will go down next year.”

There’s also a new seam with water beginning to bleed through the solid body of the rock.

“In another 10 years we’ll see another arch and then that will finally fall,” Wagenseller predicted.

What impact will losing part of the community’s signature landmark have?

“There will be less standing room for the pelicans,” quipped Schmidt, adding: “It’s sad the shape is going to change, but you can’t stop Mother Nature. I just never thought I’d see that big a change in the rock in my lifetime, but it happened.”

Bird Rock’s distinctive rock can be easily glimpsed from the platform and stairs of the sewer pump station at the end of Bird Rock Avenue, which meanders down the cliff face to the rock-strewn beach below.