Bird LA Day features exotic wildlife and walking tours of the Ballona Wetlands. SEE SATURDAY.

What’s the first thing you think about when you think about L.A.? If it isn’t biodiversity, this event could be an eye-opener.

On Saturday, May 7, the National Audubon Society’s Bird LA Day offers Angelenos a new way to look at the city. More than 50 bird- and nature-themed events happening across L.A. County, from the rooftop of the Ace Hotel in downtown to the city’s last remaining wetlands in Playa del Rey, celebrate nature’s celebrities.

“Birds are the ambassadors of biodiversity, and therefore well suited to tell the story,” Friends of Ballona Wetlands Executive Director Lisa Fimiani says.

Family-friendly activities on the Westside include birding in the Santa Monica Mountains, seabird explorations at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and a bird photography workshop and bird soundscape yoga at The G2 Gallery on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

To dive truly into the thick of nature, take a bird walk through the freshwater or saltwater marshlands of the Ballona Wetlands (various tours happen between 9 a.m. and noon) and hang around for a rare opportunity to see rehabilitated owls and raptors up close.

“The Ballona Wetlands is a treasure trove of biodiversity,” says Fimiani. “It’s a major stopover for millions of migratory birds and home to many species of flora and fauna found nowhere else in Southern California.”

Participants may also expect to see native plants that date back to the indigenous Tongva people as well as endangered species such as the Belding’s Savannah sparrow, California legless lizard and El Segundo Blue butterflies.

— Michael Reyes

Visit birdla.org for a complete schedule of events.