PSSS Banner                                                                                            Surf Scoter © Garret Lau


Interactive Website
(data entry)


Survey Sites

Data Analysis
(2013-14 summary)


Birds of PSSS


What is PSSS?

The 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 and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 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 the Puget Sound region.

Learn more about PSSS:          Overview         History/Objectives        

For the 2014-15
PSSS Season


Project Expansion

Seattle Audubon was 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 supports the collection of baseline data on seabird populations in areas at higher risk of a major oil spill. The grant also supports additional training for our PSSS volunteers for conducting early on-scene reconnaissance in the event of an actual oil spill. Learn more about this exciting project here.

January 3rd, 2015

2013-14 Survey Summary:

From October 2013 through April 2014, 424 surveys were conducted at 67 survey sites in King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston Counties. Density data were collected on 50 species of seabird that utilize near-shore habitat throughout the Puget Sound. These surveys represent 167hrs & 26min of survey time and over 300hrs of volunteer effort

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 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 PSSS schedule for the 2014-2015 survey season 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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