Hero Image

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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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.

Behavior and Ecology of Steller's Jays

  • Organization Name
    Humbolt State University
  • Partners
    N / A
  • Contact Name
    Jeff Black, PhD, DSc
  • Contact Email
  • Contact Phone
  • Other Contact Information
    N / A
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

    To investigate mechanisms behind the complex social system and ecological relationships that drive the distribution and dynamics of the local jay population. Jays are wonderful focal animals because they are conspicuous, and travel in pairs and family groups, allowing students to practice monitoring skills. 

  • Participant Activities

    Participants - primarily HSU students - record the location and behavior of individually marked jays. Jays in the HSU population live here all year around, allowing researchers to establish a very detailed investigation. Birds have been fitted with color bands enabling tracking individuals across habitats and through lifetimes.

    The data to included for each record includes:

    • Bird’s color code
    • Size of social group seen at the same time
    • Associates’ color codes (or if unbanded = UNB; or not determined = NOTD)
    • Number of times associates came within 3 meters of each other
    • Approximate time spent within 3 meter distance (e.g. 2 seconds, 15 sec, etc.)
    • Total time you watched the birds (e.g. 5 minutes, 10 min, etc.)
    • Time of day; start of observation (e.g. 1935)
    • Date (e.g. 9.30.99)
    • Location of observation (e.g. Rewood Bowl SW corner west bleachers. And state whether the bird was seen at a birdfeeder or in trees, etc)
    • Comments (e.g. deformed leg, feather tuft on back, etc.)


  • Data Entry
    • Data Sheets
    • Unknown
  • Other Participant Activities
    N / A
  • System Studied
    • Birds
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
  • Location
    Near Humbolt State University, from Diamond Drive (north of campus) to Fickle Hill Road (south of campus).
  • Location - Map
    1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA 95521
  • Time Commitment
    • Unknown
  • Volunteer Qualifications

    HSU students are main participants of the project. In particular, participation is encouraged from students in Wildlife Techniques 311, and Wildlife Ethology 475.

    Contact project leader if you are not a student and would like to participate.

  • Volunteer Training

    Project is associated with undergraduate classes in wildlife techniques and ethology at Humbolt State University.

  • Cost to Participant
    N / A
  • How will the findings be used?

    Papers published from project data are posted on the project website.

  • Other Information
    N / A
  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:

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.