Coastal Bird Monitoring Volunteer

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National Park Service

  • 5 people are interested
Volunteer In Parks

The Boston Harbor Islands national park area (BOHA) includes 34 islands and peninsulas situated within the large "C" shape of the Greater Boston shoreline. The islands are rich in natural and cultural resources, and are managed by a unique, 13-member Partnership. Visit for more information.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: The National Park Service, the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, and the University
of Rhode Island have begun developing a long term monitoring program for coastal birds breeding in the Boston Harbor Islands. In 2001-2003, researchers from the University of Rhode Island conducted an inventory of coastal breeding birds and documented species and colony locations within the park. Many of these are species of conservation and/or management concern, like Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, and Snowy Egrets. In 2007, researchers piloted a volunteer monitoring effort that will help the park track and manage this important resource. The first year of the study began in Spring 2008.

Responsibilities will include: estimating nesting pairs and/or counting nests of a variety of species using both boat-based and ground-based survey methods; accurately recording data onto field data sheets; recording location information using field maps and gps units. Training is provided.

Previous experience with bird survey techniques or waterbird monitoring is helpful but not required. Field work takes place in variable weather conditions and involves small boat travel and hiking over rough and variable terrain. Exposure to the elements include risks associated with outdoor activity, walking through ungroomed trails through dense foliage and areas of high density nesting. Fact sheets about some potential health risks will be provided. A 26-foot landing craft is used to access the islands; boat rides can often be bumpy and landings are sometimes precarious; sure footing and appropriate footwear are necessary. Work is physically demanding. Volunteers must be physically able to negotiate uneven, graded pathways and be prepared for several hours of walking in remote locations of the park. Please be aware that because many of the islands are in remote locations, cellphone reception may be erratic and emergency response time is significantly slower then at mainland locations.

All volunteers are asked to participate in a 2-hour training session in advance of the field season, and will then have the opportunity to sign up for scheduled field days. Spaces are limited only 4 volunteers go out each day. We strive to make consistent teams, so individuals with greater availability may be given preference. We do our best to accommodate those with less availability. The boat for field work departs from UMASS Boston and are scheduled from 7am - 12pm each day, though end time may vary. Although a draft field schedule is planned in advance, weather and field conditions are variable so this schedule is subject to change.

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Animals Environment


Mon Apr 01, 2019 - Wed Jul 31, 2019
07:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Boston HarborBoston, MA 02109



  • Data Entry
  • Environmental Science
  • Outdoor Recreation




  • Must be at least 18
  • Must commit to a 2 hour training and 4 hour morning shifts.
  • Must be able to get to UMass Boston in the mornings during the week.

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