The sky’s the limit at the Second Annual Bird LA Day on May 7 which aims to get Angelenos away from technology and into the wildness of local parks, open spaces forests – and even downtown Los Angeles – to witness nature on the wing.
Many organizations from Big Bear to Long Beach, Calabasas to Puente Hills (and points in between) will host bird-related events, mainly bird walks, but other fun activities include bird bar meet-ups, photography classes and even bird yoga.
Marcos Trinidad, associate director at the Audubon Center at Debs Park, will lead at 8am bird walk on Bird LA Day and encourages novice birders to take the avarian plunge. “Be willing and open to the experience and don’t worry if you don’t know a particular birds’ name,” he says. “The main thing is to be curious and really be in the moment.”
That said, Trinidad offered his selections on birding in Debs Park, which could mirror bird finds in many other Los Angeles locations.
Beginners, consider this your official checklist; veterans, help the novices locate these flappers!
Likely to See:
1. California Towhee: This dark gray bird scratches and hops among the leaf litter and twigs as it looks for nibblies. Its metallic peep is unmistakable.
2. Western Scrub Jay: Don’t call them blue jays, these busy birds “are always on the job, a true type-A personality,” says Trinidad. Find them perched, eating or prepping for their next take-off.
3. Common Raven: Trinidad sees them in groups early in the morning and late afternoons. “It’s like that are briefing each other on their day,” he says. Listen for their throaty noises, dripping water sounds and beak-snapping.
4. Northern Mockingbird: Often perched high, the males are the singers, belting note after musical note. They can be aggressive, chasing off other birds and dive-bombing any potential threats.
5. Anna’s Hummingbird: Another very busy bird, these tiny green-feathered hummers with red throats are constantly zipping the skies. They will, however, perch to catch their breath.
Now…if you are lucky, you may see:
1. Spotted Towhee: This bird’s beautiful song matches its lovely black and brown feathers with white spots and…kinda spooky red eyes.
2. Bewick’s Wren: You’re apt to hear this small bird with a long tail rather than see it; its warble is delightful.
3. California Thrasher: Shy, timid birds with huge beaks, find them scratching the ground. “It does sing, but chances are you won’t hear it,” says Trinidad. “If it knows you are around, it will be gone.”
4. Northern Flicker: Extremely striking woodpecker with dramatic feather pattern and red chest, they are heard drumming the trees searching for bugs.
5. Red-Tailed Hawk: Soaring the skies, these predators can also be spotted perched, surveying their next potential meal…or enjoying the landscape.
Bird LA Day is May 7. Trinidad’s 8am walk at the Audubon Center at Deb’s Park will take a few hours and cover maybe 1 ½ miles. Just show up, no need for reservations. Bring binoculars.
Check the Bird LA Day website for a complete list of bird activities to get your bird on, SoCal.
— Brenda Rees, editor
Sound credits: Audubon Guide to North American Birds
Photo credits: California Towhee: Linda Swanson, Scrub Jay: Minette Layne, Scrub Jay: Minette Layne, Raven: Gary Stolz USFWS, Mockingbird: Ryan Hagerty, Anna’s Hummingbird: Alan Vernon, Spotted Towhee: Brad Singer CSUSB, Northern Flicker: Dea Vogel, California Thrasher: CA Berkeley Education, Red-Tailed Hawk: Simply San Juan.