Colonial Waterbird Colony Ask a Scientist
In March 2020, we started a social media campaign called Ask A Scientist, where we covered a different topic each week and invited people to ask questions which we answered ever Friday. One of our topics was colonial waterbird nest monitoring.
What is a “colonial waterbird”? These are birds that feed or live on the water and breed in groups called colonies. Colonies can include one or multiple species. We have many types of colonial waterbirds in San Francisco Bay, including herons, egrets, cormorants, terns, gulls, and shorebirds. April-June are the peak of the breeding season, so it’s a great time to learn more about our local colonies!
SFBBO’s Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Program has been tracking the nesting behaviors of colonial waterbirds since the 1980s - all thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists. Volunteers adopt colonies to monitor throughout the season and the data they collect help land managers to protect habitats for birds and people. Some of our volunteers have been monitoring the same colony for over 20 years!
SFBBO monitors colonial waterbird colonies all around the Bay Area at a variety of sites. Some of the colonies are in more remote areas, but some of them nest in more urban habitats - including a colony in downtown Oakland!
Thanks to SFBBO's waterbird team for ansering these questions!