Wings + Wonder + Water

Birds of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve

By Amanda Thompson

Los Angeles is gifted with the greatest amount of biodiversity of any urban area in the United States. And yet, people are busy and unaware. We are typically so disconnected from the natural environment that we have no idea what animal and bird life we daily share our city with. Dodging traffic and maneuvering through untold tons of discarded waste, a great variety of birds and other wildlife dwell, woven as precious, living threads into the fabric of the city. For their survival and ours, it’s time to reconnect.

The book is a visual celebration of urban nature and the feathered beauties that swoop and glide through our churning city. But beyond that, it serves as a call to action, including contributions from leaders in wildlife conservation and habitat restoration in Los Angeles. The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is only made possible by the continual supply of fresh water (treated wastewater) from the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant adjacent to the Reserve. Then there is the LA River Project, and the celebrated achievement of the groundbreaking for the already-famous Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. Each of these exceedingly encouraging features of wildlife conservation and related recreational/educational opportunities for the human population are to be applauded. And most importantly, they can and should be repeated in urban areas everywhere. All life is interconnected and interdependent, and Los Angeles is creating fantastic opportunities to support and reconnect with nature – in our own backyard.

Coming Spring 2023 in Hardcover and Ebook


Dive! Dive! Dive!

The hilarity of a cooperative dive. Vibrantly colored feet flailing, the pelicans struggle to force their buoyant bodies below the surface.
Amanda Thompson

Juvenile Red-Tail Hawk in Flight

Images stitched together showing the progression of
a leaping liftoff. The most common hawk in Southern
California, and one of the most beautiful.
Andy House

Spiky Silhouettes

Soothing watercolor reflections accentuate the sharpness
of riparian grasses bordering the Wildlife Lake.
Bonnie Blake

Mother and Baby Beak to Beak

Goslings remain with their parents as a family for about a year.
Nurit Katz

Glowing Gaze of a Great Horned Owl

Talons flared, ready to grab onto a branch overlooking
the brown grasses of a late-summer field. A fascinating
fact – owl’s eyes don’t move in their sockets so they must
rotate their heads to look around.
Melissa Teller

Ring-Necked and Wild Muscovy Ducks



Taly Glez

About Amanda Thompson

When Amanda arrived on planet Earth, she instinctively knew that she needed mountains, oceans, wild rivers and everything that came with them (fabulous creatures of every sort), but none of that was available in the endlessly flat, land-locked city where she was born. Some of her earliest memories are of sitting cross-legged on the floor at her grandparent’s house with a slew of National Geographic magazines scattered around her, completely absorbed in the photos of exotic places and adventures she inherently craved to experience. So early on, she wanted to “be” National Geographic. Much of her life has been a journey to fulfill that dream. Not by being an employee of National Graphic, but by striving to embody and experience what those so-loved images represented and stirred in her as a child.

Today, after a few career path explorations, not much has changed with her life passions. Amanda’s photography is her voice. Her images are a tribute to the magnificence of all life on planet Earth. At the core of her being—and the driving force for her photography—is an aching need to make a positive contribution to the world, and a heart-splitting protest to what most humans are doing to it. Amanda’s hope is that her photographs penetrate deep; to a place that triggers joy, recalls pain, and impels humane, decisive action.

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