Seattle Audubon advocates and organizes for cities where people and birds thrive.

About PSSS

Project Objectives:

  1. The goal of the Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is to develop long-term baseline shore-based density estimates for seabirds in central and south Puget Sound.  The previous continuous study (PSAMP) estimated group sizes and species composition of groups from aerial and ship-based surveys.
  2. Given the initial success of the surveys, Seattle Audubon is developing partnerships with other regional Audubon chapters, local NGOs, and local, state, and federal government agencies to create a framework for long-term seabird monitoring in Puget Sound.


Project History:

Seabird research in Puget Sound has historically been a collaborative process between state and federal agencies, NGOs, and university scientists.  In 1978-79, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) jointly funded the first seabird survey in Puget Sound, known as the Marine Ecosystems Analysis (MESA).  Results from the MESA study have provided an initial baseline to estimate population trends and projections in Puget Sound.  Beginning in the early 1990s, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) made seabirds a conservation priority and began a series of continuous annual surveys to estimate temporal trends in seabird abundance.  These data have been incorporated into the Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program (PSAMP), and nearly all species have been shown to decline since 1978-79.  One potential problem with comparing WDFW surveys with the MESA density estimates is that the sampling protocol has been slightly different.  To address this issue, a Washington State Sea Grant funded survey was established in 2004-05 to replicate the initial MESA project (J. Bower, Western Washington University).  Preliminary results from the WWU survey agree with the PSAMP trends to some degree, but also show different trends for some species, including pigeon guillemots (declined 55% in the PSAMP survey, increased 60% in the WWU survey).  These discrepancies indicate the need for additional research and continuous shore-based surveys of Puget Sound seabirds.


Read the protocol and recording form


Back to PSSS - Home


Due to ongoing COVID-19 impacts, we have paused all NBP surveys. We will be in touch with current NBP volunteers and those who are interested when the project can safely resume for all.

Common Yellowthroat by Tom Sanders


Monitoring species diversity in urban wildlife habitats of King County through the work of community scientists, and empowering the community to become advocates for wildlife habitat.

How It Works

Volunteers conduct bird surveys at multiple points along a loop once a month in Seattle city parks. The data are entered into a master database accessible online. These data serve to assist Seattle Audubon's advocacy efforts in land-use decisions. Learn more about the survey protocol here.

The project's name includes "neighborhood" because the project enlists volunteers primarily from the neighborhood surrounding the wildlife habitat being surveyed. The intent is to educate Seattle Audubon members about the habitat close to their homes, to observe what birds live there as the seasons change, and in doing so, to encourage members to become advocates for the wildlife "in their neighborhoods" or communities.


Data Entry Website:

In July 2018, we released a new website that allows NBP participants to enter their data online to provide us at Seattle Audubon almost immediate access to the information they collected on their survey. This new website not only hosts our data entry portal, but is an avenue to refresh yourself on our protocol, print off data sheets, and explore your survey history statistics and park-specific statistics. NBP data should be entered on a monthly basis shortly after your survey. Data enterers can refer to the data entry instructions or contact with any questions.


Data Analysis

Restoration efforts on birds: Data from the Neighborhood Bird Project has been used to investigate the effectiveness of restoration work in four of Seattle's urban parks - Carkeek Park, Discovery Park, Golden Gardens and Magnuson Park. The report that was produced from this analysis is entitled: Impacts of Habitat Restoration and the Status of Avian Communities in Seattle City Parksdownload the report (1650 KB, pdf)

Rufous and Anna's Hummingbird populations: University of Washington undergraduate, Lauren Rowe, analyzed Rufous and Anna's Hummingbird presence data from the Neighborhood Bird Project, Christmas Bird Count, North American Breeding Bird Survey, and other datasets to learn about how these two species populations have changed in suburban and urban areas of Western Washington. This report was entitled: Rufous (Selasphorus rufus) and Anna's Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) population changes in Western Washington. download the report (943 KB, pdf)


In 1994, Seattle Audubon launched the Neighborhood Bird Project in several King County habitat areas with the goals of assessing species diversity and empowering citizens to advocate for wildlife habitat in their communities' land-use issues. The project began in Carkeek Park in Seattle, Shadow Lake Bog in Kent, and a private property in Woodinville. Additional sites were added as interest increased. The most recent addition to the project is Lincoln Park with the first surveys taking place in January 2017.

see a map of participating parks (link to Google Maps)

Read study based on NBP data

Current project survey sites:

View Seattle Audubon - Neighborhood Bird Project in a larger map




 Day of Count

Volunteer Skills Preference

 Tiffany Linbo Carkeek Park 1st Saturday intermediate
 Richard Youel Genesee Park 1st Saturday all welcome
 Penny Rose Discovery Park 1st Saturday all welcome
 Jan Bragg Lake Forest Park 1st Sunday all welcome

Koji Yugawa

Golden Gardens 1st Sunday all welcome
Mike Witter  Seward Park 

2nd Saturday

intermediate *

Jan Bragg Magnuson Park 2nd Saturday all welcome
Kersti Muul Lincoln Park 2nd Sunday all welcome
 Penny Bolton Arboretum

3rd Saturday

intermediate/birding by ear skills**

* A significant amount of the birding in Seward Park is birding by ear (60%)… but almost more important is level of dedication. Seward Park leaders are willing to work with volunteers on this skill if they are committed. Since the beginning of the Seward Park survey ALL of our volunteers have vastly improved skills in BBE.

**New volunteers for the Arboretum should have intermediate birding by ear skills. 

Interested in participating? Contact if you would like more information about the Neighborhood Bird Project.

Volunteer Resources

Frequently Asked Questions Data Sheet
Training Packet Extra Sheet
Protocol Training Video Wetland Sheet (Magnuson Park only)


Learn more about birds on the SAS Science pages


Citizen Science Science Resources
Community Science Resources
Seattle Audubon is nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Copyright Seattle Audubon.
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