Colonial Waterbird Science
Since 1982, our biologists and citizen science volunteers have monitored local populations of herons, egrets, terns, and other colony nesting waterbirds throughout the Bay Area. Information on colony sizes allows us to document localized 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 long-term dataset shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and with local organizations such as the Audubon Society to help communities make decisions that impact birds and the research project also records data on timing of nesting and evidence of predation.
Partners for this research project include the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California Department of Fish and Game, and Audubon Canyon Ranch. Funding for the program is provided by SFBBO members and donations from the community.
Visit our Science Reports section to see science reports for this program. Contact Waterbird Program Director Max Tarjan at email@example.com to receive a free "mini report" on a specific colony or share a tip about a nesting colony we might not know about yet.
Colonial Waterbird Volunteer Opportunities
Our colonial waterbird monitoring season runs from January through August and is primarily conducted by citizen science volunteers who are each assigned a different colony that they visit on specific monitoring weekends. Volunteers need to take the annual training in January. Visit our Volunteer section to learn how to volunteer for the survey.
Colonial Waterbird Education and Outreach
In addition to working with partners and leading citizen science efforts, our waterbird team offers a robust colonial waterbird outreach program. Our biologists and citizen scientists give colonial waterbird science talks and lead "Birds in Your Neighborhood" bird viewing events in the field to showcase specific nesting colonies around the Bay Area. They also offer hands-on colonial waterbird science activities at youth, family science and other community events. Visit our Events section to learn about our colonial waterbird education activities.