PSSS Banner                                                                                                  Surf Scoter (© Garret Lau)


Interactive Website
(data entry)


Survey Sites

Data Analysis
(2011-12 summary)

  Birds of PSSS


Interested in the Puget Sound Seabird Survey Expansion on Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula? Click here for more information!


What is PSSS?

Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a citizen-science survey managed by Seattle Audubon that empowers volunteer birdwatchers to gather valuable data on wintering seabird populations in Puget Sound.  Together, our team creates a snapshot of seabird density on more than 2,400 acres of nearshore saltwater habitat. It is the only land-based, multi-month survey in central or south Puget Sound.

Learn more about PSSS:          Overview         History/Objectives        

For the 2013-14
PSSS Season


Project Expansion

Seattle Audubon was recently awarded an 18 month grant for expanding our PSSS to include additional sites along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and on Whidbey Island. This state funding is to support collection of baseline data on seabird populations in areas at higher risk of a major oil spill. The grant will also support additional training for our PSSS volunteers for conducting early on-scene reconnaissance in the event of an actual oil spill. Volunteer for this exciting project or learn more here.


October 4, 2014

2011-12 Survey Summary:

From October 2011 through April 2012, 426 surveys were conducted at 67 survey sites (Island, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Jefferson, Kitsap and Thurston counties) with density data collected on 56 species of near-shore birds. This represents 159.7 survey hours and 302.6 volunteer hours

Read about PSSS in the Kitsap Sun



What is PSSS?


Beginning to expert birders are welcome to volunteer.





All "seabird" species: geese, swans, diving and dabbling ducks, loons, grebes, cormorants, gulls, terns, murres, murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, auklets and puffins. Because the presence of raptors can affect the distribution of seabirds, hawks, eagles and falcons are also recorded.

Browse all seabird species here


Survey sites are specific locations established by Seattle Audubon. Nearly all are located on publicly-accessible saltwater shoreline.

See a map of available survey sites here or see all active sites on an interactive map.




All surveys are synchronized to take place during a four hour window (determined by Seattle Audubon) on the first Saturday of the month, October through April. Each survey is 15-30 minutes.

Read the current PSSS schedule here.




Using a ruler and a compass, surveyors gather data that allows scientists to estimate bird density through 'distance sampling'. Simply counting the number of birds in a given location is a simpler approach, but it forces scientists to assume that all birds are detected by observers. In reality, detection of any species declines with the distance from the observer: poor sighting conditions, quality of observing equipment, and observer inexperience all contribute to declining detection likelihood as distance increases. Distance sampling provides a robust approach to estimating density and allow for calculation of less biased density estimates.

Learn more about the PSSS protocol here.




                          Learn more about birds on the SAS Science pages

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Citizen Science Resources
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