Hotspots Near You

90. Franklin Canyon Park, Beverly Hills, California

Zip code 90210 is home to this 605-acre natural area, where you can spot common chaparral breeders California Quail, California Thrasher, Bewick’s Wren, and Wrentit.
By Neil Losin | Published: 4/23/2010

To most of us, the zip code 90210 doesn’t sound like a birding hotspot. But nestled in Beverly Hills is Franklin Canyon Park, a beautiful patch of California chaparral and riparian oak forest. Its birdwatching opportunities are excellent year-round.

In the summer, common chaparral breeders include California Quail, California Thrasher, Bewick’s Wren, and the skulking Wrentit. Oak Titmice, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, and Acorn Woodpeckers reside in riparian areas. Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir is a precious water source in the dry hills, and waterfowl often can be seen feeding on the lake.

At the pond near the the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom, you can watch Wood Ducks from just feet away, but please obey the signs and don’t feed the ducks. Spring migrants include White-throated Swift, Phainopepla, and Western Tanager. Arrive when the park opens at dawn, and you might encounter a coyote or bobcat on the winding entrance road. Stay a bit longer, and you could spot your favorite Hollywood star walking the dog or pushing a stroller. — Neil Losin

Neil Losin wrote about Burrowing Owls in our February 2011 issue. He also wrote about Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Malibu, California, Hotspots Near You No. 64, and Matheson Hammock Park, South Miami, Florida, No. 133. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA. 

90. Franklin Canyon Park, Beverly Hills, California

Directions

Franklin Canyon Park is a 605-acre natural area in the middle of suburban Los Angeles. From Santa Monica Blvd. (Hwy. 2) in Beverly Hills, turn onto N. Beverly Dr. and go about 2.5 miles to Franklin Canyon Dr. Follow it for a winding 1.75-mile drive to the parking area for the Sooky Goldman Nature Center.

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
34°7’23.29″N 118°24’31.68″W

Habitat

California chaparral, manmade ponds, and oak-riparian woodlands.

Terrain

Well-maintained trails circle Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir and reach into the surrounding hills. Road around reservoir flat and paved; some trails rough and steep. Wheelchair-accessible trail around William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom Pond.

Birds

Chaparral areas: Western Scrub-Jay, Wrentit, California Thrasher, Spotted and California Towhees, and California Quail. Oak-dominated riparian forest: Acorn and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and Great Horned Owl. Reservoirs and ponds: Wood, Ruddy, and Ring-necked Ducks. Spring and fall migrants: Costa’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, Yellow, Townsend’s, Orange-crowned, and Wilson’s Warblers, Phainopepla and other flycatchers, vireos, Loggerhead Shrike, Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles, and Western Tanager.

When to go

Year-round.

Amenities

Bird walks led by Los Angeles Audubon on the second Sunday of each month. Checklist on website. Sooky Goldman Nature Center offers exhibits on the park’s natural and cultural history. Restrooms in nature center, at William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom Pond, and at Doheny Ranch in Lower Franklin Canyon.

Access

Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority park. Open year-round, sunrise to sunset. No entrance or parking fees.

Tips

Wear layers. Temperature often chilly at dawn; can get hot by late morning at any time of year.

For more info

Franklin County Park, (310) 858-7272
Los Angeles Audubon
San Fernando Valley Audubon

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