Successful ecological restoration depends on a clear understanding of the history of local species loss and colonization. One area of California where this can be uniquely achieved is the Ballona Wetlands, one of the best-studied coastal habitats in the state, recently acquired by the State of California for restoration and protection as a proposed Ecological Reserve. Though birds are among the primary beneficiaries of this effort, the avifauna of Ballona Wetlands has not been critically examined in more than 60 years. In an effort to guide future restoration projects, I present a review of bird taxa that have been extirpated, reestablished or that have newly colonized the Ballona area since 1900. This information should facilitate the development of target species to be monitored as the Ballona ecosystem is restored, and should help set local and regional restoration goals.