Exploring “Wild LA” with the Natural History Museum

It’s no secret I love Natural History Museum LA – it’s practically my second home! So when I heard it they were a new book called Wild L.A.: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles I immediately put in on my Amazon wish list. Lucky for me, they were kind enough to send me a copy and, man, have I been enjoying it!

wild la

To the untrained eye Los Angeles seems like a concrete jungle – filled with roads and buildings and seemingly devoid of any natural elements. But the more you look at it the more you find it teeming with wildlife. From the smallest insect to the mighty mountain lion the area is filled with thousands of animal species not to mention all the native plants! In fact, the county is home to over 500 species of birds alone – the most in the country!

Recently, I was walking in the Los Cerritos Wetlands and came across the Hooded Oriole. I never knew there were orioles here! As soon as I went home I grabbed the book and read up on this fascinating bird.

Wild LA is not simply a guide to the plants and animals of our region but an all encompassing look at the area’s natural environment. In fact, it’s really three books in one. The first section, Wild Los Angeles can be read as a narrative history of the region’s wildlife from the Ice Age to today’s citizen scientists.

The second section, 101 LA Species To Know, is a field guide to the a range of area species from Turkey Tail Fungus to Manzanita to the Stink Beetle to the Gopher Snake to the House FInch to the Black Bear. Reading through this section I was amazed at just how many species are in the county! Big Horn Sheep? I thought I’d need to go the Grand Canyon to see them!

The final section, Field Trips, is a travel guide to various wildlife spots around the county and, of course, it’s my favorite. There are 25 trips featured and they range from urban explorations to wilderness treks. Each field trip has a handy map with a suggested route to take as well as information on species native to the site. There were some places I was very familiar with like El Dorado Nature Center and others I had never heard of like Powder Canyon. I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me and I can’t wait to get out there and see it.


You can pick up a copy of Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Los Angeles at the museum or pretty much anywhere books are sold (including Amazon). It’s perfect for wildlife newbies and experts alike and will provide a whole new perspective on this fascinating region we call home.

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