The Baldwin Hills is home to a diversity of birds that both breed and pass through the area along their migratory routes. One bird that has drawn attention from the community, is the Cactus Wren — a bird that has seemingly disappeared from the Baldwin Hills in the last twenty years. In efforts to bring back this bird, local high school students have attempted to replant the prickly-pear cactus, the Cactus Wren’s preferred nesting site. So far, the bird hasn’t been spotted but the story of the Cactus Wren has illuminated the importance of preserving the natural habitat for the wildlife in Los Angeles.
There are approximately 41 bird species that nest in the Baldwin Hills, with 36 of them native to California. The various habitats found across the Baldwin Hills region are important for the diversity of species who frequent the area, with some birds preferring the scrub vegetation over grasslands, or landscaped park vegetation over woodland areas. Because of increased urbanization and degradation of native vegetation, some bird species have been lost or their numbers have decreased. Some of this can also be attributed to increases in smaller predators such as feral cats. The Baldwin Hills is particularly important for those birds that do not breed in urban areas, as the hills can provide a significant habitat island in the middle of Los Angeles.
Though many birds can be spotted in various habitats, some species are associated with specific types of plants and environments. The Baldwin Hills and Ballona Creek area can be divided into five habitat types based on the type of vegetation and natural features in that area:
For bird sightings and citizen observations in different areas of the Baldwin Hills, check out eBird’s species checklists:
- Baldwin Hill’s Scenic Overlook
- Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
- Kenneth Hahn Gwen Moore Lake
- Culver City Park
- Ballona Creek
For more information:
- Birds of the Baldwin Hills – Kimball L. Garrett (2001)
- Baldwin Hills Animal Life – Dave Marqua (1978)