Tucked away in the southeast corner of the UCLA campus, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is an ideal spot for birding.
This is where I learned to bird. Having had the revelation that, even in the city, birds were all around me, I set out to discover just how many species called UCLA home and to create a website about them. The garden is where I honed my skills: watching, listening, and photographing. The sheer variety of potential experiences has kept me coming back.
On some days, the winding paths and towering trees offer nothing more than quiet contemplation. But on others, they nearly burst with activity: a frenzied Bushtit flock, a mischievous pair of ravens, a rushing Cooper’s Hawk, a scolding House Wren, a skulking Hermit Thrush.
Nesting birds include Bewick’s Wrens, Anna’s Hummmingbirds, Bushtits, Cooper’s Hawks, and (I strongly suspect) Spotted Towhees. A trio of Western Tanagers stayed the winter one year. And during migrations, ragtag convoys of birds pass through: Lincoln’s Sparrow, Rufous Hummingbird, Ash-throated and Dusky Flycatchers, MacGillivray’s Warbler, and others. — Jason R. Finley
Jason R. Finley is a UCLA grad and the webmaster of Birds of Westwood. He now lives in Illinois, where he misses the hummingbirds but digs the cardinals.