Science Event Pick: Golden Gate Raptor Observatory’s 25th Anniversary

Every fall, 30,000 raptors and hawks migrate across the Bay Area in a fantastic display.Every fall, 30,000 raptors and hawks migrate across the Bay Area in a fantastic display. Most stop for a quick snack in the Marin Headlands before moving on to their winter homes. Bay Area scientists and volunteers have been using the opportunity to conduct counts, as raptors have long been seen as indicators for ecosystem health. The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, now a program of the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy, was set up 25 years ago as the first bird monitoring system in California. Anyone that visits “Hawk Hill” during this time can attest to mass migration; Upwards of 1000 birds are seen per day during the peak. To my amazement, the observatory is almost fully run by volunteers; there are only 3 full time employees compared to over 300 volunteers. Clearly, this is one of the most successful citizen science projects in the Bay Area.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary, there are a number of interactive events and talks scheduled over the next month.

Hawk Talk and Banding Demo

Where: Hawk Hill

When: Sat 9/12, Sun 9/13, Sat 9/19, Sun 9/20, Sat 9/26 12 Noon – 2 PM


Cost: Free

Details: At these Hawk Talks, a GGRO volunteer gives an hour-long talk about hawk monitoring, migration, and identification using photos and other props. Then at 1 PM a newly banded wild hawk is shown to the crowd, a volunteer talks about GGRO's banding program, and the hawk is released.

GGRO Open House and Raptor Fest!

Where: Ft Cronkhite at Rodeo Beach

When: October 24th and 25th, 10 AM-4 PM

Cost: Free

Details: Scientific Displays, Radiotelemetry Demonstrations, Live Non-releasable Raptors, Kid Crafts, GGRO 25th Anniversary Product Sales, Visits to Hawk Hill, Banding Demonstrations, and Raptor Art. On Sunday only - Speakers from UC Davis, SF State University, UC Berkeley presenting results of their research with GGRO.

Celebrate Raptors—A Series of Raptor Biology Talks

Satellite-Tracking Peregrines throughout the Americas

Where: San Francisco Zoo

When: Thursday, September 10th 7-9 PM

Cost: $3-$5 suggested donation

Falconiformes Discovery: Field, Lab, and Conservation

Where: California Academy of Science’s Nightlife

When: Thursday, October 15th 7-9 PM

Cost: $12

Eagle Quest:  To See All the World’s Eagles

Where: Mission Blue Chapel, Cavallo Point

When: Wednesday, November 18h 7-9 PM

Cost: $3-$5 suggested donation

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