California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Community Science for CA Naturalists

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu. Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

 Project Name SFBBO Waterbird Program
 Organization Name San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
 Project Website http://www.sfbbo.org/volunteer/opportunities.php
 Organization Website http://www.sfbbo.org/index.php
 Partners Audubon Canyon Ranch
 Contact Name Caitlin Robinson-Nilsen
 Contact Email cnilsen@sfbbo.org
 Contact Phone (408)946-6548
 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) To document population trends, inform resource management decisions, and contribute to other projects including the "Annotated Atlas and Implications for the Conservation of Heron and Egret Nesting Colonies in the San Francisco Bay Area", a collaboration between SFBBO and Audubon Canyon Ranch. The Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Project also records data on timing of nesting and evidence of predation.

 Participant Activities Colonial Waterbird Monitor: SFBBO has monitored colonial waterbirds since 1981. Beginning in early March and continuing through early August, we track numbers of breeding herons, egrets, terns, gulls and other birds that nest in colonies around the Bay Area. These numbers add to a database that extends for 30 years, allowing us to document population trends. We also monitor the timing of nesting and evidence of disturbance and predation.

Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer: Since 1983, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has banded more than 11,000 California Gulls in the South Bay. Recently, the largest colony of nesting California Gulls (Pond A6 with over 23,000 gulls) was restored to tidal action as part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. SFBBO is tracking where these displaced gulls move and their impacts other ground-nesting waterbirds in the South Bay. Banding and re-sighting gulls from this colony helps determine their post-restoration movements. In 2008 through 2010, we banded gulls with field-readable bands. These are large black bands with three white numbers or yellow bands with black numbers.

 Data Entry Unknown
 Other Participant Activities Volunteers can help with other SFBO projects, join outreach and office positions. in the Waterbird program they can also become an Avian Disease Prevention Field Volunteer. San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory staff, with the help of volunteers, monitors Alviso, Mallard (Artesian) and Guadalupe Sloughs for the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale. Surveys occur by boat on a weekly basis during periods of warm weather, generally June to mid-November, to collect all dead, sick and injured birds in the sloughs. We also collect any dead fish or mammals in order to prevent the spread of botulism. Volunteers will only survey with SFBBO staff members.

 System Studied Birds
 Geographic Scope Local
 Region Contra Costa
 Location Alviso, Mallard (Artesian) and Guadalupe Sloughs, and restoration areas in the South Bay
 Location - Map 524 Valley Way Milpitas, CA 95035
 Time Commitment Other (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications Colonial Waterbird Monitor - Experience Required: Previous experience identifying the given species is required. An orientation given by SFBBO is recommended for everyone who is going to be surveying for the first time. In addition, a field trip to the site can often be arranged with an SFBBO biologist or a volunteer with previous experience at the site. Other Qualifications: Ability to drive on dirt roads and possibly walk on uneven surfaces required, depending on the site; Ability to look through a spotting scope for extended periods of time a must!

Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer - Experience Required: Good eyesight and experience scanning flocks of birds with a spotting scope. Patience is a must. Other Qualifications: Previous experience re-sighting color bands; a truck, SUV, or other high clearance vehicle for some sites.

 Volunteer Training Colonial Waterbird Monitor - Orientation: February (required for first-time monitors). An orientation given by SFBBO is recommended for everyone who is going to be surveying for the first time. In addition, a field trip to the site can often be arranged with an SFBBO biologist or a volunteer with previous experience at the site.

Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer - Orientation: As Needed. 

 How will the findings be used?

Reports and publications from project data are available through the project's website: http://www.sfbbo.org/science/water_projects.php?proj=monitoring

 Other Information Colonial Waterbird Monitor - Season: Spring and Summer. Time Commitment: Surveys occur once a month from March - August, with more frequent surveys in May and June. Volunteers choose their own survey dates within a three-day window around a weekend. Each survey lasts 4+ hours. Colonies are assigned to volunteers in Jan-Feb of each year. We do accept year-round inquiries, however you may be placed on a wait list until January.

Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer - Season: Year-round. Time Commitment: Surveys occur once a month during the non-breeding season and weekly during the breeding season. Volunteers choose their own survey dates within the given time period. Each survey lasts 4+ hours.

Avian Disease Prevention Field Volunteer - Season: Summer and Fall. Time Commitment: A commitment to at least 1 survey per month over the season is required. Each survey lasts 4-5 hrs. Surveys occur by boat on a weekly basis during periods of warm weather, generally June to mid-November, to collect all dead, sick and injured birds in the sloughs. 

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.

Webmaster Email: canaturalist@ucanr.edu