Where Can You Birdwatch In Los Angeles? (Top 5 Spots You Need Know)

Come discover the magic of birdwatching in LA and unlock a diverse array of avian rarities just waiting to be observed and admired.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, there are plenty of spots throughout LA County where you can find amazing birds.

Our article takes you on a journey through the different types of LA county landscapes, from lush coastal wetlands and grasslands to picturesque urban parks and gardens.

Where to birdwatch in LA

Coastal Wetlands

The Los Angeles coast is home to a surprising variety of wetland habitats, attracting a wide array of shorebirds and marshbirds. 

Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey provide an excellent spot for watching birds such as snowy egrets, black-necked stilts, western sandpipers, American avocets and more. 

Photo of Ballona Wetlands at Playa Vista
Ballona Wetlands at Playa Vista

Further south at Bolsa Chica, you can find a variety of terns, cormorants, ducks and shorebirds among the wetlands. 

The Ballona Creek estuary is another great place to spot birds in LA County, with species such as black-crowned night herons, ospreys and great blue herons commonly seen. 

You’ll also find many species of songbirds, woodpeckers and waterfowl in the area.

Grasslands

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is a prime location to see may different grassland species (including meadowlarks, hawks, sparrows, and sandpipers) foraging in their natural habitat.

The Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is also home to a variety of grassland bird species including western bluebirds, California quail and black-chinned sparrows. 

Photo of Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is another important birding hotspot in the area. 

This reserve is home to many species of birds that are more adapted to dry and open grassland habitats, such as larks, burrowing owls, western kingbirds and more.

Urban Parks & Gardens

Urban parks offer plenty of opportunities for birdwatching in Los Angeles County. We’ll cover some but the list is far from complete here. 

Echo Park Lake

Tucked away in the vibrant heart of Los Angeles County, Echo Park Lake is an urban oasis surrounded by a picturesque landscape, perfect for observing a wide variety of waterfowl and shorebirds.

The lake’s tranquil waters are home to over 30 species of aquatic birds, including mallards, American wigeons, northern shovelers, cinnamon teals, common gallinules, American coots and double-crested cormorants.

Photo of Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles
Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles

Beyond the lake’s shores, the surrounding park and gardens offer a wealth of bird watching opportunities for visitors. 

The trees and shrubs found throughout the park host a variety of songbird species, including black phoebes, house finches, western bluebirds and yellow warblers. 

The park’s beauty and birdlife have inspired many poets and writers, including Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski.

Echo Park Lake’s importance to the local community is not limited to its recreational and aesthetic value. 

Since 2017  the lake has been given a new lease on life thanks to an amazing restoration project that has revitalized the ecosystem.

The restoration process has benefited the lake’s birdlife by creating new habitats and food sources for both resident and migratory bird species.

Overall, Echo Park Lake is a must-visit destination for those seeking a peaceful and enriching bird watching experience in the bustling urban landscape of Los Angeles County. 

The lake’s diverse birdlife and ongoing conservation efforts make it a valuable asset to both the local community and visiting birdwatchers.

Burbank Area

Located at the edge of the San Fernando Valley,  the stunning parks  and surrounding hills of Burbank offer visitors the opportunity to observe many species that are rarely seen elsewhere in Los Angeles County. 

The Verdugo Mountains provide an ideal habitat for a wide variety of birds, including California raptor species such as red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks and occasionally golden eagles. 

Photo of Verdugo Mountains near Burbank
Verdugo Mountains near Burbank

The Verdugos also host a large population of bird species more adapted to chaparral habitats, including western scrub jays, white-breasted nuthatches and acorn woodpeckers.  

You can also expect to spot some amazing species of sparrows in the area – from the California towhee to the white-crowned sparrow, you’ll witness a diverse range of these charming birds.

Griffith Park

Spanning a massive 4000 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest recreational areas in Los Angeles County, and is inhabited by more than 120 bird species that either breed in the park of visit it during migration.

These include raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks and small California birds such as Yellow-rumped Warblers and Western Bluebirds. 

Photo of bench in Griffith Park in Los Angeles
Park bench in Griffith Park in Los Angeles

The park’s numerous ponds and lakes provide excellent habitat for many waterfowl species, including mallards, American wigeons and cinnamon teals.

If you’re new to birdwatching, Griffith Park has got you covered! Head to the visitors center for all the information you need to spot various species in the area, as well as maps of popular birding trails and observation sites.

Guided bird walks are also offered throughout the year, providing participants with an opportunity to explore the park’s avian life with experienced naturalists. 

Exposition Park 

Exposition Park is home to a rich array of bird species, making it an ideal destination for Los Angeles area birdwatchers. 

The park’s diverse habitats, including wetlands, gardens and woodlands, support a variety of avian wildlife. Visitors are likely to see species such as mallards, American wigeons, northern shovelers, great blue herons and American white pelicans

The park is also an excellent spot to observe rarer species. Such as tundra swans and bald eagles. 

The park is a popular birding destination for novice birders, since they can take advantage of the Exposition Park Birding Guide offering detailed tips for finding birds in the park. 

Guided bird walks and educational programs are available throughout the year, providing participants with interesting insights into Exposition Park’s avian wildlife. 

Final remarks

In summary, Los Angeles County it a must-visit destination for ornithologists, nature lovers, and bird enthusiasts of all levels.

Whether you’re looking for raptors or songbirds, waterfowl or shorebirds, there are plenty of places in the county where you can serenely observe birds in their natural habitat. 

From Echo Park Lake to Griffith Park and Exposition Park, Los Angeles offers unique opportunities to explore its avian wildlife with guided tours and educational programs that provide fascinating insights into the local birdlife. 

If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the best time of year for birdwatching in Thailand.

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