Flocking to the LA River, Part 2


By Joyce Amaro, LA Stormwater

She swam confidently through the low-hanging bushes that edged the river. She eyed me and my zoom lens with suspicion and moved back into the shadows. I slowly crept along the river’s embankment with my camera poised, not wanting to spook her. What followed her out of the shadows made me catch my breath and smile…eleven ducklings, swimming in a perfect line behind her, one right after the other. Finally!  Here was the wildlife along the Los Angeles River I had come to see.

After I watched this not-so-small duck family weave their way through the plants that line the river’s bank, I turned to my right and watched a Double-crested Cormorant diving in and out of the calm waters south of the Marsh Park rapids. Unsuccessful in his fishing efforts, he lifted out of the water, flew past me and alighted on a rock in the river’s center. He stood there, airing out his wings. The Cormorant juxtaposed against the Glendale Freeway sobered me. Next, I found a Great Blue Heron standing as a statue in the shallow water. Like the mother duck, he eyed me warily before taking off and flying up the river. Not to be outdone, smaller birds also started appearing. A Black Phoebe looked at me curiously from his perch on a branch. White-throated Swifts flew in dizzying figure-eight patterns directly above me. A lone Killdeer flew north, landing on a flat rock.  A small flock of Mallard ducks flew directly overhead, landed in the shallow water and began scooping up beaks full of algae.  

As I drove back to the office, I was struck by nature’s perseverance and the hope of new life here in Los Angeles along this almost completely urbanized waterway.  Now with the opening of two Los Angeles River Recreation Zones, we all have the opportunity to witness and celebrate nature’s comeback. And, with the hope of $1 billion in funding for the revitalization of the LA River, its future has never looked brighter. So, take a morning stroll along the river’s edge, grab a birding guide and visit some feathered friends, or rent a kayak and ride the rapids. After all, we don’t want birds to be the only ones flocking to the LA River. 

What’s next? Running LA River rapids in a kayak!

Interested in seeing a few birds whose nests enjoy an LA River address? Enjoy a slide show featuring the feathered friends I visited with during my recent visit to the Elysian Valley River Recreation Zone.  



Comments (1)

  1. Loretta Mayer
    July 11th, 2014 at 11:34 am

    The restoration of the L.A. River is inspiring as is the writing that it inspires!

Share Your Comments With Us

  • We’re on Facebook!

  • Featured Videos

    Ariel Art at Kids Ocean Day 2010