Ballona Institute
Los Angeles, California
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Julius Hugh Comby
Belted Kingfisher Nesting
Whittier Narrows 65 Years Ago

Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Biogeographer, Environmental Historian, and Conservation Biologist
Ballona Institute

December 11, 2008

Julius Hugh Comby discovered the Belted Kingfisher nesting at on the San Gabriel River at Whittier Narrows because he was a biologist, naturalist and birdwatcher in Los Angeles County from the 1930s to the 1960s. His home was near the nesting site on San Jose Creek, a tributary to the San Gabriel River. He had recently lived in Pico Rivera and Whittier and was familiar this stretch of the river. Julius wrote a brief report of the status of the nesting Kingisher for the professional birding periodical, Condor, of the Cooper Ornithological Club. He was a member of this Club for about 5 years, having joined in 1939, and his article on the kingfisher appeared in a 1944 issue of the Condor. He wrote several articles in the ensuing years about birds in the Whittier Narrows region.

Sadly, the kingfisher does not nest here due to loss of habitat but it could be restored with proper wildlife techniques. In essence, Julius and Erna were joined together by their mutual interest in birds, wildlife and nature.

Selected article by Julius Comby on the Belted Kingfisher breeding at Whittier Narrows in Los Angeles County. Reprinted for educational purposes from the magazine: Condor.