Environment & Science

Southern California's wildlife may be rebounding after recent rains

File: A black skimmer uses its unique fishing technique in the Los Cerritos Wetlands as land developers and wildlife conservationists compete for the vanishing wetland on July 31, 2007 near Long Beach.
File: A black skimmer uses its unique fishing technique in the Los Cerritos Wetlands as land developers and wildlife conservationists compete for the vanishing wetland on July 31, 2007 near Long Beach.
David McNew/Getty Images

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After half a decade of drought, the region's wildlife may be making a comeback. 

During the past five years, many species have held off on breeding, Cooper Ecological Monitoring founder Dan Cooper told KPCC. Some birds have been hit by a lack of insects available to feed on.

"They've almost been in hibernation mode," Cooper said. 

Insects largely rely on wildflower blooms to survive. In turn, the blooms rely on rain. 

"When flowers aren't blooming, insects aren't flying," Cooper said.

Due to record-setting rains and wildflower blooms, a large number of insects is now supporting more birds. Wildflower blooms also drop seeds for the region's rodent population to eat, Cooper said.

The ripple effect this year's rain has had on the region's wildlife has biologists like Cooper feeling optimistic. 

"Our ecosystem has evolved to withstand swings of the pendulum," he said. "Birds and fish depend on unpredictable summers — it's part of the natural system we have here in Southern California." 

Special coverage: 'Drought to deluge'

This story is part of a full day of special coverage examining what the wet winter has meant for our water supply. Check out the full coverage Monday, April 3 on...

Morning Edition: While a healthy snowpack will be good for imported water sources to Southern California, that’s not necessarily the case for local sources of water. Reporter Emily Guerin explains.

Take Two: Host A Martinez talks to state and local water experts about the lessons we’ve learned from the recent cycle of dry to wet and what that means for how we manage water going forward.

AirTalk: Host Larry Mantle takes listener calls on whether the wet winter has caused you to rethink water conservation.

All Things Considered: Host Nick Roman takes a look at how the sudden change from parched to lush backcountry has affected local wildlife and habitat.