Leading a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.


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


Common Yellowthroat by Tom Sanders


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

How It Works

Volunteers conduct bird censuses once a month. The data are entered into a master database. These data serve to assist Seattle Audubon's advocacy efforts in land-use decisions.

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 Analysis

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 Parks.

 download the report (1,650k, 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 studies based on NBP data

Current project survey sites:

View Seattle Audubon - Neighborhood Bird Project in a larger map




 Day of Count

Volunteer Preference

 Jan Bragg Magnuson Park

2nd Saturday


 Jan Bragg Lake Forest Park

1st Sunday


 Richard Youel Genesee Park

1st Saturday

beginners OK

 Penny Rose Discovery Park

1st Saturday


 Mike Witter Seward Park

2nd Saturday

intermediate *

 Penny Bolton Arboretum

3rd Saturday


 Tiffany Linbo Carkeek Park

1st Saturday


 Roland Kilcher & Mike Freund Golden Gardens

1st Sunday

beginners OK

Kersti Muul

Lincoln Park 2nd Sunday all welcome
* A significant amount of the birding in Seward Park is birding by ear (60%)… but almost more important is level of dedication. 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.

Contact Toby Ross, Seattle Audubon Science Manager, if you would like more information about the Neighborhood Bird Project.

Volunteer Resources

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


                          Learn more about birds on the SAS Science pages


Citizen Science Science Resources
Citizen Science Resources
Contact Science Manager
Seattle Audubon is nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Copyright 2017 Seattle Audubon.