In the mid-1970’s, a group of students studying California birdlife took the initiative to conduct field studies on bird populations and behaviors in their own neighborhoods and pool the information. They formed a loosely knit organization called the South Bay Institute for Avian Studies. A yearlong study of San Francisco Bay wetlands brought to light that not much was known about the wildlife and natural habitat of Bay ecosystems, particularly the tidal marshes and salt ponds in South San Francisco Bay. In 1981, the Institute was formally organized as a non-profit organization, and in 1982 its current name was adopted – the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.
For more than 35 years, SFBBO has conducted research in the Bay Area and has evolved into a leading authority in field techniques and the study of landbirds, waterbirds, and their habitats in the San Francisco Bay area. We share our research findings with land use managers and policy makers, university students, fellow scientists, and the general public. Our core staff of biologists and ecologists leverages the support of partnering organizations, student interns, and more than 100 citizen science volunteers, who help conduct our research.
In addition, to develop the community support needed to protect birds, we also run an outreach program to educate and engage people in avian conservation and science. Each year, we offer bird walks, workshops, talks, and special events. We staff booths at community festivals and environmental fairs, engage corporations through presentations and group volunteer work parties, and engage diverse communities of Bay Area residents and K-12 students through a variety of targeted outreach events.
· Healthy Bay Area bird populations and ecologically functional habitats, including species that are currently listed as threatened or endangered, and species impacted by climate change;
· A community that values birds and supports the conservation of birds and the wider ecosystem, including increased funding and active engagement;
· An appreciation for science, long-term data collection, and the scientific method in policy and land use decision-making;
· A populace that embraces the ethic of “giving back” through volunteering, philanthropy, and community service;
· A region connected by strong partnerships that augment and enhance one another’s efforts; and
· A model for conservation efforts around the globe.