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Volunteer Opportunities


Check out each position posting for current needs and position availability.
To apply to become an SFBBO volunteer, visit our volunteer page.

Coyote Creek Field Station Maintenance
Coyote Creek Field Station Data Entry Volunteer
Coyote Creek Field Station Bird Banding Volunteer (there is a wait list for this position)
Avian Disease Prevention Field Volunteer
Colonial Waterbird Monitor
Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer
Bird Observatory Archivist and Librarian
Photo Library Organizer
Prize Procurement Volunteer


Landbird Program

Coyote Creek Field Station Maintenance
Season: Year-Round
Orientation: As needed
Time Commitment: Two days

Description: The Coyote Creek Field Station is the Bird Observatory's year-round bird banding station. Coyote Creek Field Station maintenance includes helping to maintain trails, mist nets, and work around the station itself. This is fairly physical work requiring the ability to use basic gardening tools (trimmers, saws, rakes, etc.), working outside, standing for lengths of time, and carrying/lifting heavy objects

Experience Required: None.

Other Qualifications: Ability to use gardening tools, walk on uneven trails, and stand for lengths of time.

Experience Required: None.

Other Qualifications: Ability to use gardening tools, walk on uneven trails, and stand for lengths of time.

To apply to become a Coyote Creek Field Station Maintenance Volunteer, please fill out an application form and follow the instructions found on our Volunteer page. For general inquiries about the Maintenance Volunteer position, email Josh Scullen at jscullen@sfbbo.org.


Coyote Creek Field Station Data Entry Volunteer
Season: Year-Round
Orientation: As Needed
Time Commitment: Four months, two days per month

Description: We capture hundreds of birds each year at the Coyote Creek Field Station, the Bird Observatory's year-round bird banding station. Extensive data is collected for each individual we catch, Bird Observatory biologists need these data entered into our database before they can analyze them.

Experience Required: Familiarity with Microsoft Windows OS and the Microsoft Office environment.

Other Qualifications: Familiarity with banding data and Microsoft Access a plus.

To apply to become a Coyote Creek Field Station Data Entry Volunteer, please fill out an application form and follow the instructions found on our Volunteer page. For general inquiries about the Data Entry Volunteer position, email Josh Scullen at jscullen@sfbbo.org.


Coyote Creek Field Station Bird Banding Volunteer (there is a wait list for this position)

Season: Year-round
Orientation: As needed
Time Commitment: Two days per month (minimum of 4 months; 4+ years preferred)
Start Time: Be onsite 40 or 50 minutes prior to local sunrise

The Coyote Creek Field Station (CCFS) is SFBBO’s year-round passerine banding station, located on private property near Milpitas, CA. SFBBO relies on citizen scientists to help us operate this station, which we run every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. We open our nets 30 minutes before sunrise, and keep them open for 5 hours.

As a CCFS volunteer, you will undergo gradual training for three sequential positions, starting with Predator Patroller, progressing to Extractor, and finally to Bander. Each position is described below, with the approximate amount of time you can expect to spend training or performing duties for each position. Note that this duration is impacted by trainer availability and your ability to learn the skills required for each position.

No prior bird-related field experience is necessary to become a CCFS volunteer. Successful applicants will have an enthusiasm for early mornings, strong and positive teamwork and interpersonal skills, and the ability to stand and walk for 5 hours on uneven trails. Additional qualifications include: strong attention to detail and familiarity with identifying bird species by plumage and shape. Applicants with prior extracting / bird banding experience will still begin as a Predator Patroller, but may spend less time in each position.

To apply to become a Coyote Creek Field Station Bird Banding Volunteer in one of the three positions below, please fill out an application form and follow the instructions found on our Volunteer page. For general inquiries about the Bird Banding Volunteer position, email Josh Scullen at jscullen@sfbbo.org.


Coyote Creek Field Station Predator Patroller (there is a wait list for this position)
Season: Year-Round
Approximate training duration: 4 months

As a Predator Patroller, you will learn the basics of how CCFS operates. Your key responsibilities are to patrol the mist nets, report and monitor any captured birds, and report and deter any potential predators in the study area (mostly foxes, cats, and occasionally raptors). Additional roles include safely transporting birds from the nets to the banding trailer, assisting with data recording (as needed), assisting with net runs, and net repair.


Coyote Creek Field Station Extractor (there is a wait list for this position)
Season: Year-Round
Approximate training duration: 12 months

Extractors perform all the duties of Predator Patrollers, and can safely extract birds from mist-nets. Extractors are responsible for monitoring bird safety: identifying signs of stress in birds, identifying and monitoring conditions that may be unsafe for mist-netting (inclement weather, too many birds, too many predators, etc.), and ensuring that all nets are properly checked every 30 minutes.


Coyote Creek Field Station Bird Bander (there is a wait list for this position)
Season: Year-round
Approximate training duration: 18 months

Banders perform all the duties of Predator Patrollers and Extractors, and are responsible for safely banding and collecting data from all captured birds, including basic morphometrics and advanced ageing and sexing based on the Identification Guide to North American Birds (the Pyle guide). Banders ensure that the banding day operates smoothly, that all daily station data is collected, and that all data are properly recorded and entered at the end of the day. Banders provide opportunistic training to other volunteers, and ensure that Predator Patrollers and Extractors are safely and correctly fulfilling their duties.


Waterbird Program

Avian Disease Prevention Field Volunteer
Season: Summer and Fall
Orientation: None
Time Commitment: A commitment to at least 1 survey per month over the season is required. Each survey lasts 4-5 hrs.

Description: San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory staff, with the help of volunteers, monitors Alviso, Mallard (Artesian) and Guadalupe Sloughs for the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale. Surveys occur by boat on a weekly basis during periods of warm weather, generally June to mid-November, to collect all dead, sick and injured birds in the sloughs. We also collect any dead fish or mammals in order to prevent the spread of botulism. Volunteers will only survey with SFBBO staff members.

Experience Required: No previous experience required, however, experience handling waterbirds is preferred.

Other Qualifications: Volunteers must not be afraid to get muddy and/or wet! They must also be willing to handle (with proper protection) sick, injured and dead wildlife.

Accepting year-round inquiries; contact Victoria Heyseat vheyse@sfbbo.org. The Avian Disease Prevention Program (ADPP) surveys run from June - November.


Colonial Waterbird Monitor
Season: Late Winter through Summer
Orientation: January (required)
Time Commitment: Surveys occur once a month from February - August, with more frequent surveys in April, May and June. Volunteers choose their own survey dates within a three-day window around a weekend. Each survey lasts 2+ hours.

Description: SFBBO has monitored colonial waterbirds since 1981. Beginning in early Februaryand continuing through early August, we track numbers of breeding herons, egrets, terns, gulls and other birds that nest in colonies around the Bay Area. These numbers add to a database that extends for 35+ years, allowing us to document population trends. We also monitor the timing of nesting and evidence of disturbance and predation.

No experience Required: An orientation given by SFBBO is mandatory. In addition, a field trip to the site can often be arranged with an SFBBO biologist or a volunteer with previous experience at the site.

Other Qualifications: Ability to drive on dirt roads and possibly walk on uneven surfaces required, depending on the site; Ability to look through a spotting scope for extended periods of time a must!

Colonies are assigned to volunteers in Jan-Feb of each year. For information, contact Kristin Butler at kbutler@sfbbo.org.


Banded Gull Re-sighting Volunteer
Season: Year-round
Orientation: As Needed
Time Commitment: Surveys occur once a month during the non-breeding season and weekly during the breeding season. Volunteers choose their own survey dates within the given time period. Each survey lasts 4+ hours.

Description: Since 1983, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has banded more than 11,000 California Gulls in the South Bay. Recently, the largest colony of nesting California Gulls (Pond A6 with over 23,000 gulls) was restored to tidal action as part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. SFBBO is tracking where these displaced gulls move and their impacts other ground-nesting waterbirds in the South Bay. Banding and re-sighting gulls from this colony helps determine their post-restoration movements.

In 2008 through 2010, we banded gulls with field-readable bands. These are large black bands with three white numbers or yellow bands with black numbers.

Experience Required: Good eyesight and experience scanning flocks of birds with a spotting scope. Patience is a must.

Other Qualifications: Previous experience re-sighting color bands; a truck, SUV, or other high clearance vehicle for some sites.

Accepting year-round inquiries; contact Max Tarjan and mtarjan@sfbbo.org.



Outreach & Fundraising

Bird Observatory Archivist and Librarian
Time Commitment: Once a month or more frequently; 2 - 3 hrs each time.
Description: The Bird Observatory library and collections provide a wealth of information on ornithology, as well as organization-specific information on research and history. However, the books and journals need to be organized and catalogued. Volunteers with an interest in the organization's history may also create displays and scrapbooks.

Experience Required: Experience in library science is helpful for cataloguing the books.

Other Qualifications: Good organizational skills, motivation, and an interest in local history are helpful.

Accepting year-round inquiries; contact Kristin Butler at kbutler@sfbbo.org.


Photo Library Organizer
Time Commitment: 2 - 4 times per month; 3 - 6 hrs each time. Volunteers may choose their hours and days.

Description: The Bird Observatory needs help organizing our electronic photo library. We receive hundreds of images from photographers each year, which, to be effectively used, needs organization into a searchable database.

Experience Required: Identification of birds from photographs. Experience using a photo management program a plus.

Other Qualifications: Good organizational skills, motivation, and an interest in the Bird Observatory's history are helpful.

Accepting year-round inquiries; contact Kristin Butler at kbutler@sfbbo.org.


Prize Procurement Volunteer
Please see the complete job description here.

Term: Appointment is for six months, May through October
Time Commitment: Average of 1 hour per week May - September; additional hours September - October (approximately 5 hours per week).

Description: Prize Procurement Volunteers perform all aspects of obtaining the in-kind donations that will be awarded as prizes at the SFBBO Annual Meeting event in October. Prizes will include things like bird-related art, crafts, books, trips, and equipment, and will be awarded for the Annual Meeting Raffle Event, and to CFC Fundraising Competition winners, Mewaldt Cup winners, Trip Leader prizes and thank you gifts, and other volunteer thank you gifts. Prize Procurement volunteers work with SFBBO staff to ensure that all prize procurement activities are conducted professionally and on a timely basis.

Accepting inquiries; contact Kristin Butler at kbutler@sfbbo.org.

Looking for other ways to volunteer for the California Fall Challenge? Contact Kristin Butler at at kbutler@sfbbo.org for more information.