Community science is increasingly important. Stewards and State Parks community science volunteers monitor nesting seabirds along the Sonoma Coast, April through August, and document disturbances that compromise successful breeding. This training will introduce you to the work done by citizen science volunteers and help you get involved in this important task.
Instructor(s): Hollis Bewley (Seabird Monitoring Program Coordinator)
Seabird Class/Orientation: March 15th 5-7P Via Zoom.
Seabird Site Visit: TBD – Last week in March at Bodega Head
Stewards’ Seabird Monitoring program began in 2013, thanks to funding from the Bureau of Land Management. Stewards is partnering with the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) to monitor seabirds off the Sonoma Coast and eventually create a local Chapter of the Seabird Protection Network.
A Seabird Protection Network works to reduce human disturbance to seabirds and other wildlife along the California coast through an organized outreach and education program combined with law enforcement and seabird management actions. The first step is to monitor local seabirds to determine the level of disturbance and from what sources. Seabirds can be disturbed by hikers, low-flying planes and helicopters, boats and paddlers, hang gliders and fireworks.
Tasks: Seabird monitors collect monitoring equipment before their shift begins. With the equipment, they drive to one of several observation sites and use the data sheets to record information such as weather, number of individuals observed, and identify the species present. There are almost always 2 volunteers per shift at each observation site: one to identify and count the species and individuals, and another to do the recording on the data sheet. Monitors return the equipment and completed data sheet at the end of their shift.
Meeting times: Shifts are 4 hours scheduled once per month for each observation site every month. During breeding season (April 1st through the end of August), volunteers are scheduled for a shift at each observation site once per week.
Training and requirements: No prior experience is necessary! New volunteers should register and attend a Seabird Monitoring training. Volunteers will then shadow experienced volunteers until they feel comfortable on their own. New volunteers are required to attend one General Orientation, and encouraged to attend seminars to further their education.