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 distrubance 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 our affordable seminars to further their education. All new volunteers are required to complete and turn in a hard copy of the CA State Parks DPR 208 paperwork. Read our Volunteer Handbook for more information about becoming a volunteer.
Incident Reports, Training Documents & Survey Forms
Reporting Wildlife Disturbances or Concerns
- NEW: What constitutes a disburbance?
- Email Stewards to report a problem or concern from your shift
- Contact the Marine Mammal Center to report abandoned or injured marine mammals
- Fill out the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's Wildlife Disturbance Form to report seabird and marine mammal disturbances (be sure you understand how to use the form before you fill it out)
Citizen Monitoring Training Documents
- Bird Species List - 2012 update
- Bodega Head Vantage Points - Dr. Joe Mortenson
- NEW: California Coastal National Monument Presentation - Bill Standley &
- California Pinniped Presentation - Dr. Joe Mortenson
NEW: Citizen Science Supporting Seabird Conservation on Public Lands in California - Jim Weigand, BLM
- NEW: Data Collection & Forms - Carol Farnes
- Gull ID Sheet - John Muir Laws (used with permission)
- Identifying Neonate Pinnipeds - Dr. Joe Mortenson
- Monitoring Logistics & Protocols - Jim Weigand,
- Sea Ranch Stewardship Task Force - Seabird Monitoring Program - Diane Hichwa
- NEW: Seabird ID & Logistics - Hollis Bewley
- NEW: Seabird Protection Network - Sage Tezak, Seabird Protection Network
- NEW: Seabird Resource Links - prepared by Hollis Bewley
- Seabirds of Sonoma Coast - photo journal by Hollis Bewley
- NEW: Stewards' Seabird Monitoring Volunteer Manual (below same thing?)
- Stewards' Seabird Monitoring Protocol - Meghan
Walla-Murphy & Team
- Volunteer Stipend Form
Survey Forms for Monitors
- NEW: Breeding Survey Form
- Coastal Island Survey Form
- Legend Codes
- NEW: Non-Breeding Survey Form
- Pinniped Survey Form for Bodega Head