For Birds, Echo Park Lake was never closed

By Judy Raskin

In the 13 years that I have been keeping records of the birds of Echo Park Lake, I’ve recorded 75 species. Not all are at the lake at any one time, of course. Some birds are here year ‘round (think Mallards, finches, sparrows, pigeons), but others show up only on their migrations.

The condition of the lake for the past two years during construction has not been inviting to certain species. No water, no fish, no cormorants or other fish loving birds have stopped in. On the other hand, the puddles of water that remained in the midst of a muddy lake bottom attracted shore birds like killdeer and willets for the first time.

The official reopening of Echo Park Lake is June 15, 2013, but some birds are already back. With the creation of new wetland-like plantings and different depths throughout the lake, from a deep 8’ feet to relatively shallow 18 inches, we should see the return of most of species that had found homes elsewhere. Start looking for Mallards, Canada geese, American coots and gulls in the water; red-tailed hawks overhead; and grackles, blackbirds, sparrows, finches and pigeons in the trees, along with some less often seen visitors.