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Volunteer Opportunities

A volunteer network of observers has made it possible for us to study California’s peregrine Falcon population since the 1970s. As the population increases it becomes impossible to monitor the population without a large cadre of volunteer observers. Your help as a member of the volunteer network is needed to make it possible for us to continue studying the recovery of this spectacular bird in California.

The Peregrine Falcon continues to be an important indicator of ecological health and careful monitoring of its population will help us better understand our ecosystem. Please contact us if you wish to participate.

Winter SurveyWinter Survey: The Bay Area peregrine falcon population fluctuates each year each year between breeding season and wintering season. “Wintering” peregrines, presumably from far northern breeding territories, use the Greater Bay Area from October through March. We organize a census of wintering falcons during December so that we may attempt to annually track this population of peregrine falcons, in comparison to breeding birds.

We use a “point survey” method to census peregrine falcons. A list of OPs (observation posts) is prepared and volunteers staff the locations during a specific period of time and on a specific day each winter. Volunteers note the location of perched peregrine falcons and the duration of time that the falcon is visible to them. A comparison of falcon observations, and the times of those observations will provide an estimate of wintering Bay Area peregrine falcons. The survey is annually repeatable making the data valuable to science as a baseline indicator of environmental health.

Contact falconet@ucsc.edu to express an interest in participating in the winter peregrine falcon survey.

Fledge WatchFledge Watch: Peregrine Falcons currently nest at two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area where we have nest cameras installed. The locations are: PG&E Headquarters in downtown San Francisco (77 Beale Street) and, San Jose City Hall at 6th and Santa Clara in San Jose.

As the young Peregrine Falcons reach fledging age, trained volunteers gather nearby and commit to shifts so that they may help keep the youngsters safe upon fledging. Training is required for full participation. We recommend that interested members of the public subscribe to the online discussion group for the nest camera location of interest to stay up to date and learn more about the date and location of training opportunities. We will provide a background on the Peregrine Falcon Recovery and training for interested volunteers who wish to participate by committing to one or more Fledge Watch shifts during early June. Watch for information on our home page announcing upcoming opportunities for fledge watch training.

Nest MonitoringNest Monitoring: Observers may participate by helping us to track the Peregrine Falcon population. The “Fledge Watch” trainings are a good way to learn more about observing Peregrine Falcons during nesting but we provide an overview here.