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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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

Colonial Waterbird Surveys

  • Organization Name
    Point Blue
  • Organization Website
  • Partners
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; California Department of Fish and Game; California Rice Commission
  • Contact Name
    Dave Shuford
  • Contact Email
  • Contact Phone
    N / A
  • Other Contact Information
    N / A
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)
    Conduct comprehensive surveys of nesting colonies of herons, egrets, night-herons, and cormorants in the southern Central Valley (San Joaquin Valley & Tulare Basin) of California. Immediate goals are to:
    1. Document the size and location of all breeding colonies 
    2. Estimate the minimum regional population size of each species
    3. Contribute to an atlas of breeding waterbird colonies by 2013 
    These surveys will also provide a baseline needed to develop a long-term monitoring program to track regional population sizes, trends, and patterns of distribution of colonial waterbirds. All of these goals are in service of the conservation of these wetland birds.
    Species of Interest:  Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Double-crested Cormorant
  • Participant Activities

    Participants estimate the number of breeding pairs of each species at colony sites. Generally, the best way to estimate breeding pairs is by counting all active/occupied nests. In most cases participants should be able to conduct a single survey of a multi-species colony in mid- to late May to obtain nest counts for all species. Participants also identify new colonies and record observations such as colony location, bird behavior, and weather.

  • Data Entry
    • Data Sheets
  • Other Participant Activities
    N / A
  • System Studied
    • Birds
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
    All (see 'geographic scope')
  • Location
    San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin including the following counties: Stanislaus, w. Tuolumne, Merced, w. Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare
  • Location - Map
    N / A
  • Time Commitment
    • Once a year
    • Specific dates (see Other Information below)
  • Volunteer Qualifications

    Volunteers must carefully read protocol and should have binoculars or scope for accurate observation

  • Volunteer Training

    Materials, including protocols & background on bird species and identification, is accessible on the project website: https://sites.google.com/site/colwatsurv/volunteer-materials

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

    Previous years reports are accessible on the project website and data is used to inform resource management and agricultural policy.

  • Other Information

    Timing: Because of the difficulty of seeing into nests high in trees (particularly when obscured by branches or foliage), the best time to obtain an accurate count of the number of active/occupied nests is late in the cycle when large young generally are easily visible in nests and adult activity at nests is high. Although there is a fair amount of variation in the timing of nest initiation among the six target species, we judge the best time for nests counts at colonies is from mid- to late May.

  • 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.