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The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a community science survey created by Seattle Audubon in 2007 and adopted 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.

We are actively seeking volunteers to take part in the 16th season of the Puget Sound Seabird Survey. Volunteers are asked to conduct 7 surveys with a small team of fellow surveyors. Ideally you will have good seabird identification skills; however, there are roles on the survey team for birders at all levels. Surveys are synchronized to take place once per month on the first Saturday, October – April. Your team will be assigned 1-3 sites for the season with locations based around your preferences. Training on the survey protocol will be provided in September with specific dates to be announced.

  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 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. The next sessions will be in September 2024. 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. 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 in August and September with information on:​

    • potential survey sites

    • contact details for fellow teammates

PSSS 2024-25 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 follow the instructions in the How To Get Involved section above.


All seabird species: geese, swans, diving and dabbling ducks, loons, grebes, cormorants, gulls, terns, murres, murrelets, 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 PSSS project team based on the tides) on the first Saturday of the month, October through April. Each survey is 15-30 minutes in duration.


PSSS in the Media

The PSSS program has been featured a number of times in the media. Follow this link to find some of the examples.

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