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SCPBRG Internship Opportunities

UC Santa Cruz College 8 Class
Peregrine Falcon Recovery—Case Study in Conservation Success

Course Overview:

This course is an overview of the most successful wildlife conservation program ever undertaken. It is a case study that illustrates how an appreciation for one iconic species can have a global impact on laws to protect wildlife and to restore species and habitat. It is the story of a species that came dangerously close to extinction in the late 1960s; no successful breeding pairs could be found east of the Mississippi River by 1964, a handful of pairs were known in the Rockies, and just two pairs could be found in California during a 1970 census. The belief that this apex avian predator would soon face extinction provided impetus for a population recovery that many regarded as impossible.

We will examine the environmental protection laws that provided a mandate to pursue recovery for this species and other plants and animals, the natural history of this bird, and, the management techniques that were developed to accelerate its recovery. This course is intended to serve as a “training laboratory” for students who wish to pursue a two or five unit service project during a later term.

Having accomplished the recovery of the Peregrine Falcon, and applied our expertise to several other predatory bird species, the goal of the Predatory Bird Research Group today is to promote conservation. We make wildlife accessible to the general public, and provide a unique learning experience for online observers and volunteers who participate in “citizen science” projects in the Bay Area. Students will be trained to directly participate as representatives of the University in work that can have a transformational impact on members of the public.

Intern Opportunities
Internship Overview:

This internship will provide crucial real-world experience for the aspiring wildlife biologist by providing experience making field observations, collecting accurate data on provided forms, learning to be prepared for dawn to dark work in a wilderness setting by accommodating hardships dealt unexpectedly by nature, and interpreting the substance and importance of the work to members of the public. Participation in the winter quarter College 8 class, “Peregrine Falcon Recovery—A Case Study in Conservation Success” is helpful but not required. There are two opportunities to participate.
Adult Peregrine (Photo Nick Dunlop)Falcon Nest Camera Operator: We offer views of nesting falcons to the public from three locations in the Bay Area. Attendants use their computers to move the cameras as needed during incubation of eggs and rearing of young. Attendants become intimately familiar with the nesting chronology of peregrine falcons, and participate in a large conservation education effort (camera web site receives 600,000 or more hits per week). They also collect prey delivery data. Nest camera operators must also staff at least two, five-hour shifts at a nest site during the period when young falcons fledge (early June).

Peregrine Falcon Nest Monitor: Learn the observation protocol for nest site monitoring and report occupancy and productivity data on our observation forms for at least two Peregrine Falcon nest territories. Access to transportation to reach remote sites is required.

Intern Duties:

  • Attend orientation meeting early in Spring Quarter.
  • Operate cameras during two, three-hour shifts per week
  • Assist during peregrine falcon fledging at urban nest sites (San Jose, Redwood City, San Francisco). ~2 days (early June)
  • Observe wild falcon nest sites ~4-5 half days. (or more, Mid-March to Mid June)


  • Scope out and describe OP locations for future observers who will collect data.
  • Be trained as an “informed observer” at urban nest sites and be on hand to pick up fledglings and protect them from harm should that be necessary.
  • Collect prey delivery data while observing nest cameras.