CoastWatch sponsors a great deal of citizen science activity, but some of our partners in the Oregon Marine Debris Team also offer opportunities to assist in scientific observation.  One of these is Portland Audubon, which sponsors a Black Oystercatcher survey and is looking for new volunteers.

Black Oystercatcher with chick.  Photo by Heather Roskelley.

Black Oystercatcher with chick. Photo by Heather Roskelley.

Participants in this project will assist researchers in studying how Black Oystercatchers use rocky intertidal habitats. The Audubon Society of Portland is partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, building on their long-term annual monitoring efforts for this unique and colorful species, which is of great conservation concern.

Volunteers are needed for the abundance survey, May 12-29, and then for nest monitoring through August.  Oystercatchers will be monitored the entire length of the Oregon coast, but special emphasis will be placed on the shores bordering the five marine reserves and associated protected areas.

Audubon is hosting three training sessions to prepare volunteers:

  • Central coast:  Saturday, April 30, 9 a.m., Yachats Commons (1555 U.S. 101)
  • North coast:  Friday, May 6, 6:30 p.m., Cannon Beach City Hall (163 E. Gower)
  • South Coast:  Wednesday, May 11, 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon State University Port Orford Field Station (444 Jackson St.)

Volunteers are asked to commit to at least two surveys during the two-week monitoring period in May.  Those wishing to participate in nest checks are asked to perform at least two checks per month through the end of the season.  The survey can be adapted to fit the volunteer’s schedule.

The only other requirements are the patience to observe carefully; a love for birds also helps, and who doesn’t love clattering, orange-billed oystercatchers?  Volunteers should have their own pair of binoculars, although some scopes are available for use.

If interested, contact Joe Liebezeit ( and Amelia O’Connor (  More information can also be found at