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The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a community science survey created by Seattle Audubon in 2007 and continued by the Puget Sound Bird Observatory since 2022. This survey effort trains volunteer birdwatchers to gather valuable data on wintering seabird populations in Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and waters surrounding the San Juan Islands. 
Together, our teams capture a snapshot of seabird density on more than 5,400 acres of sheltered and open water and shoreline habitat. It is the only land-based, multi-month seabird survey in the Southern Salish Sea, and is providing valuable data for researchers, including essential population dynamic data and baseline densities and populations in the sound.

The 2023-24 survey season is underway! There are still open spots for volunteers on some survey teams around the region. If you're interested in taking part, follow the steps below and we'll be in touch. 

Volunteers are asked to conduct 7 surveys with a small team of fellow surveyors. All surveys are synchronized to take place once per month on the first Saturday, October – April. Your team will be assigned 1-3 sites with locations based around your preferences, and you’ll survey these throughout the season. Training on the survey technique will be provided in September, and ideally you will have good seabird identification skills; however, there are roles on the survey team for birders at all levels.

  1. Please indicate your interest in volunteering by following the ‘Get Involved’ button below and answer a couple of questions.

    • If you are a new volunteer, or you've taken part in the survey before and want to survey your usual sites, choose option #1

    • If you’re not available this year, but maybe would like to take part next year, there is an option to indicate that.

    • If you are not interested at all, there’s an option to have your contact details removed.

  2. The form also contains a link to a fun, updated Seabird ID Quiz which I’d like you to take. You can also find a link to the quiz below.

  3. Training is provided on how to conduct the seabird surveys. Click the 'Training" button to find out locations, dates and times for a training near you. Please register for a training so I know how many people to expect. THERE ARE NO MORE TRAINING SESSIONS IN 2023. The next sessions will be in September 2024. Visit the Protocol page to view our training video and read the full written survey protocol.

  4. If you've not volunteered for PSBO before, please complete a liability waiver. All volunteers must sign a waiver before they can take part in the program.

  5. Once these items are complete I will be in touch with information on:​

    • potential survey sites

    • contact details for fellow teammates

PSSS 2023-24 Season

What is the PSSS?

How To Get Involved:

You! Beginning birders willing to commit to learning seabird identification, as well as intermediate and expert birders who are confident with their seabird ID skills can all contribute to data collection. If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please visit the PSSS contact section for more details.


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.


Surveys take place at 175 beaches and shorelines across the southern Salish Sea. Nearly all are located on publicly accessible saltwater shoreline.


All surveys are synchronized to take place during a four hour window (determined by the Puget Sound Bird Observatory based on the tides) on the first Saturday of the month, October through April. Each survey is 15-30 minutes in duration.


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