BY CAROLE ROSNER
Los Angeles is known for many things — Paris Hilton, the Sherman Oaks Galleria, birthplace of the ice blended mocha, earthquakes, picture perfect weather, and the biggest U.S. city without a football team.
But, did you know that Los Angeles County is home to the largest variety of indigenous species of birds in the United States? We top the list with over 500 different kinds of birds living in our neighborhoods (80% of all bird species in California live in L.A.).
I never knew about this until I spoke to the owners of Wild Wings : Your Backyard Nature Store in Sherman Oaks — Bonnie McFarlin and Scott Logan. “We wanted to bring people back to nature,” Scott said as he explained the concept behind Wild Wings.
Both Bonnie and Scott grew up in the Valley and loved to explore their backyards and the areas in their neighborhoods. As they grew up and the cities expanded there were less and less places to explore. “We hope to get the community back to the nature that used to surround them,” Bonnie added.
Wild Wings opened in August 2009 and encourages the customer to discover the family-friendly hobby of backyard bird watching through education and exploration.
“It’s hard to believe, but if you do it the correct way, birds will come,” Scott said as he described some colorful local birds that could find their way to my house — including Goldfinches (gold and black birds with a sweet song), Scrub Jays (blue birds with brown on their back that are very intelligent) and Orioles (beautiful orange and black birds that arrive late February and stay until the Fall).
Wild Wings carries everything you need to attract birds (and hummingbirds) to your house and have them want to hang out there too — there are bird feeders, bird baths, binoculars, regional field guides, and even California-specific bird seed. This bright, spacious store also carries nature gifts for all ages including ant farms, wind chimes, rock identification kits and animal puppets.
There are some very unique things at Wild Wings that you won’t find in other stores along Ventura Blvd. First, there is a Butterfly Pavilion IN the store. This ever-changing exhibit is filled with butterflies in all life stages and through Bonnie and Scott’s research, it mimics the butterflies’ natural environment perfectly. Customers can help release the butterflies outdoors too.
Second, although this is a “bird” store there are no caged birds here. And lastly, there are private rooms within Wild Wings that will hold classes for the public in nature art, native gardening, and kid-friendly topics such as bugs and bats. Also Brenda Varvarigos, Executive Director of the Valley Wildlife Care center, will be coming in for show-and-tell with her rescued animals.
Wild Wings focuses on educating and exciting adults and children about what’s outside because “these kids will be the wildlife preservationists in the future.” Bonnie and Scott know how important it is for our community’s future to appreciate nature today. After visiting Wild Wings, I realize there’s so much more to see in L.A. than nice cars and good hair.
MENTION MY DAILY FIND AND RECEIVE A FREE POUND OF THEIR CUSTOM BLEND BIRD SEED!
Wild Wings 4337 Woodman Ave. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 818.995.0022 Free parking in back, metered on street Store Hours: Tuesday -Friday 10:00 to 6:00 Saturday 10:00 to 5:00 Sunday 12:00 to 4:00 Closed Mondays
Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who has lived in Studio City for the past 11 years. She is a strong supporter of her local public schools and an active volunteer in her neighborhood. Some of her favorite things to do in Studio City are to celebrate 4th of July at CBS Radford, walk along Ventura Blvd. and browse through the racks at Crossroads Trading Company.