There are lots of raptors in California (hawks, etc.), and there are also...raccoons.
They absolutely LOVE urban areas. If you've ever seen the 100% cartoon version of "Charlotte's Web," the "Overeating Song at the Fair" by the Rat Templeton could just as well have been performed by a California raccoon.
They're bold, brazen, and bossy. They will steal anything that's not nailed down, and then come into your house for pet food. True: one of my quilting friends had to chase one out of her kitchen after it came in the cat door!
It wouldn't leave "just for her"; oh no no no. She had to swat it good and proper with the business end of her broom. More than once.
Raccoons also LOVE playing in water. They are very clever with their hands. I'm going to call them "hands," anyway: my girlfriend/sister-in-law lost a beloved bunny several years ago to raccoons who UNLOCKED the double hasps on the bunny hutch to take the rabbit.
(she couldn't have the rabbit in
the house due to her asthma)
And I had to use the "jet stream" setting on my hose in Berkeley to drive off three raccoons from our patio when we lived there. They were after whatever they could get. There were some possums, too, in the ivy, but the raccoons were what I worried about, esp. since they carry rabies and I had indoor/outdoor cats (cats were all indoors every night, but still...). The raccoons didn't care about getting water aimed at their ears or their muzzles, so I escalated in a way I hadn't really wanted to: I aimed for their eyes. They finally turned around, and I aimed for...ah...the "tender parts on the other end."
Any garbage strewn around without explanation? Any dog/cat food left outside, either by your household or the neighbors? Any water...well, there's the pond...
BTW, GF/SIL lives two blocks from the freeway in a housing development. Quilt friend lives just off an east/west traffic arterial in Berkeley. I lived *on* a north/south traffic arterial in Berkeley. These are all fully built-up neighborhoods, with lots from 25'x50' to a little bigger. Nothing remotely approaching rural conditions.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9