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Birdy Hour Fall Challenge Edition – Ted Cheeseman Whale Science and the Recovery of California’s Humpback Whales

October 8, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

| $10

California’s cold coastal waters create a perfect ecosystem to support whale populations. A major whaling industry operated here, finally closing in 1972. Since the end of the whaling era, California’s great whales have enjoyed a gradual but strong recovery — first Gray Whales, then Humpback, Blue and Fin Whales. But how do we know what is going on at sea? Whaling is gone from our waters but ship strikes, entanglements in fishing gear, and climate change loom as major threats. Whales are very difficult to study, demanding innovation and creative science to see beneath the waves if we really want to understand the lives and health of earth’s most magnificent animals. Over the past five years, Ted Cheeseman has built Happywhale, a citizen science and research collaboration web platform to gather data and make science more accessible. With this work, the combined efforts of researchers and public contributors have documented almost every individual humpback whale in California waters, identifying them by photos of their unique tail patterns. Join us for stories of the science behind the amazing recovery of our whales and what science can tell us about their habits.

This event is part of SFBBO’s annual California Fall Challenge (CFC) fundraiser. Minimum $10 donation to register, $60 minimum donation to also receive our 2020 CFC T-shirt. The value of the t-shirt ($10) is not tax deductible.

Ted Cheeseman grew up in California, son of a naturalist and zoology professor couple whose shared mission in life was to educate the public about wildlife. Ted began going to sea (and getting seasick) at a very young age, and first worked as expedition staff in Antarctica in 1994. Ted continues to work in Antarctica every austral summer, and is currently working on a PhD studying humpback whale population dynamics. Ted is the co-founder of the marine mammal research collaboration and citizen science platform, and owner of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris.

The California Fall Challenge is SFBBO’s biggest fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $33,000 to support our work throughout the year and we hope you will participate and support us to reach our goal! Please register by making a donation below. We will send the Zoom meeting details a few days before the event. Questions? Contact Kristin Butler at


October 8, 2020
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
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Your Name (this will not appear on the event listing)
Danya Winterman


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