As a member of Los Angeles Audubon, I love to introduce new people to the wonders of the natural world in the greater LA area. I recently tapped into Meetup, an online social media network that helps people connect to various activities and groups in their local area. I posted LOS ANGELES AUDUBON - BIRD WALKS on the Meetup website and found that there are hundreds of people out there who love birds and nature, but who were reluctant to venture out on their own. Now, these folks are invited to participate in the walks, led by a group of knowledgeable bird experts, and learn about birds, native plants and the importance of protecting habitat. A heartfelt thanks to our Bird Walk leaders: Eleanor Osgood, Ken Wheeland and Chris Tosdevin, Eric and Ann Brooks and Bob Shanman and Friends—who are so generous with their time and have opened the eyes of many to the joy of birding. If you haven't been on a bird walk lately, bring a friend or meet a new one at the next Bird Walk! Here's a lovely note from a recent new participant, Dawna Jones. --Carol Babeli, Developmental Director, Los Angeles Audubon

April 15, 2013

It was the morning of April 14th, a cool overcast start to the day. Twelve intrepid birders showed up to meet bird walk leader Eleanor Osgood, ready to explore the feathered treasures in Franklin Canyon. Four hours later we'd seen 38 species, one possible Hutton’s Vireo nest, and one healthy coyote—that did a lovely demonstration of downward dog. We'd heard and seen the secretive Sora Rail do its high-pitched call and we'd spotted three Great Horned Owl fuzz balls (young) staring intently at us while we struggled to see them tucked behind a mess of branches on the bough of a big old tree. Without doubt, this was the highlight for most, though without the eyes of many skilled birders, most of us would have missed this treat completely.

Hummingbirds are always entertaining as they buzzed over the pond, spiraled up making loops in the sky, only to come screaming down in a flashy display of acrobatics. Was it an Anna’s, an Allen's, a Rufous? Two out of the three species possible, kept us all checking to see which of us had seen the green or the rufous colors.

We all learned a lot, and the peaceful calm that accompanies you while moving slowly along the trail—in no rush at all—is a pretty spectacular way to start the day.

Dawna Jones
LAAS Bird Walk Participant

Dawna is a nomadic Canadian visiting LA for 4 months. Although she'd never claim to be a birder, she loves being in the bush. Her father lectured for the National Audubon Society for 17 years and was a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in conservation and education.


Published Western Tanager May/June 2013 Vol.79 No. 5