From Carmelo Gaeta: “I found this nest of duck eggs along the east bank just north of the Tyburn pole. So far nine eggs, when I first came upon it it had six eggs, so the lil lady is producing. Can’t wait to see them hatch.”
“Wildlife was abundant all along the river’s course. Deer drank from its waters. Antelope lived near the river in what is today Griffith Park. … Coyotes, grey fox and mountain lions also roamed widely. Grizzly bears came dwon from the mountains in search of food, drawn by the steelhead and other fish that spawned in the streams. Hawks and condors hunted all along the river, while myriad other bird species including cuckoos, owls, vireos, and woodpeckers inhabited the willow groves that flourished along its course. Muskrats, prized for their fur, fed on the tules and cattails that grew in the marshes and sloughs. Swans, ducks, and geese swam nearby. Turtles inhabited the small ponds near the river’s beginning in Encino, and the native grasses were home to gophers, badgers, shrews and moles. Sea gulls flew inland in search of food, mingling with doves, pigeons, and quail on the floor of the San Fernando Valley. Later, as dryland farms replaced the grasslands, jack rabbits became so abundant that farmers held periodic drives in what were probably futile attempts to rid their lands of the ravenous hares.
“Birds, which remain surprisingly abundant in places along the river today, were no doubt even more numerous in historic times. …(T)he river and its overflow lands were home to numerous species that are no longer present or are now rare. Nighthawks, cactus wren, and roadrunners inhabited the San Fernando Valley. Golden eagles lived in hills overlooking the river across from Burbank. Yellow-billed cuckoos, Bell’s vireo, long-eared owls, and California quail nested in the floodplain forest that spread away from the river on the coastal plain, while burrowing owls, green-backed herons, and Savannah sparrows lived in [the marshes].”