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Photo by Tom Grey

Citizen Science

Volunteers, even those without without scientific training, can perform research-related tasks that allow scientists to accomplish research goals that would otherwise be impossible. Many volunteers of all skill levels participate in these different projects for their own enjoyment, for conservation, and to provide scientists with valuable information. Contact our Outreach Coordinator by email if you need help finding a program that suits you.

Cavity Nesters Recovery Program (CNRP)

SCVAS's CNRP involves many volunteers in Santa Clara County who establish nest box trails. During the breeding season, these boxes are checked weekly for parasitism, predation, number of eggs, nestlings, and number of young fledged. At the end of the nesting season, results are submitted and compiled, then made available to scientists. See how to participate and results.


A BioBlitz is an event where naturalists guide participants on how to use the iNaturalist and/or eBird applications on their smart phones to observe and record all living things in an area. BioBlitzes engage people of all ages in nature explorations while inspiring an enjoyment and understanding of birds and their habitats. Check out our reports on recent SCVAS BioBlitz events below. 
Coyote Valley
Overfelt Gardens

Project Feeder Watch

Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count birds at their feeders from November through early April. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. Project FeederWatch is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. See how to participate.

Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

The annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, is the oldest and largest wildlife survey in the world. Birders of all levels join together to count bird species in a predefined circle. SCVAS coordinates an impressive four counts in December and January. See how to participate and results.

Summer Bird Count (SBC)

SCVAS also coordinates a summer bird count near the beginning of June to count birds and record breeding activity. 2017 Participation information can be found here.

Great Backyard Bird Count

A joint project of National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the Great Backyard Bird Count takes place each February. Participants spend at least 15 minutes counting and recording birds that they see in their backyards, a local park, or other natural area, and submit the results online. Results help ornithologists determine how bird populations are coping with winter weather, where certain species are spending the winter, and whether species of concern are increasing or decreasing in numbers. See how to participate and results.