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LA Raptor Study

Sponsored by Friends of Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Raptor Study engages volunteers all across Los Angeles to monitor raptor nests (hawks, owls, and falcons) during spring and summer to learn how these birds are adapting to the urban environment.

The study was first launched in 2017 as Griffith Park Raptor Survey and has expanded since then. Each year, trained volunteers record observations at dozens of raptor nests located in parks, schools, and yards across the city and surrounding communities. This data-gathering is vital to biologists because it represents a specific, comprehensive dataset of raptor habits over multiple years.

Get Involved!

A community-science based program, the LA Raptor Study relies on volunteers. Early in the year, the leadership team provides volunteers with free training sessions to learn the types of raptors found in the LA area, how to track nest activity and how to record observations.

Volunteers are asked to commit to monitoring their nests at least twice a month and report the data regularly to one of the study coordinators.

If you are interested in volunteering for the study, please fill out this volunteer application. If you have questions about volunteering contact

Yearly Monitoring Schedule:

  • Late January/early February: Volunteer training, led by biologists Dan Cooper and Courtney McCammon; nest-searching, including re-visiting known nest sites.
  • March: Volunteers are deployed to monitor their assigned nests with individualized orientation by one of four study coordinators. If new nests are located, basic data is recorded on substrate/tree species, topography, GPS coordinates, and more.
  • April-June: Volunteers continue to monitor nesting activity stages, such as egg incubation, chicks, and finally fledging, as birds leave the nest by the end of June.
  • July-August: Volunteer party; data analysis and results presentation.

Click here and share a graphic on your NextDoor or Facebook account to get the word out!

Volunteer Profiles

Volunteers are key to the success of the Raptor Study! Read how volunteers are finding friendship and connection as they monitor their nests.

Raptor Study Area

The LA Raptor Study covers six sub-regions surrounding the Griffith Park area (shown in blue below), including: the southeastern San Fernando Valley, the Hollywood Hills, Baldwin Hills, Mid-City, Downtown L.A., East L.A., and Northeast L.A., along with portions of Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and South Pasadena.

Click image to download a PDF of larger image.

2020 subregion v4 Map

Final Results

Each year the LA Raptor Study publishes a final report with study results.

2022 Final Report

2021 Final Report

2020 Final Report

2019 Final Report

2018 Final Report

2017 Final Report

Raptors in the News

ALTA MAGAZINE: Bird Watching Goes Both Ways

WILDLIFE PROFESSIONAL: Persistence Amid a Pandemic
(available to magazine subscribers)

LA TIMES: Get Outside in 2020: These 4 LA Nature Events Make it Easy

Raptors in Your Hood?

Have you noticed a hawk or owl in your Los Angeles neighborhood or seen a nest made of sticks? We want to know! Send the location (address or cross streets) and any other details you have (photos or videos welcome) to our Outreach Coordinator Nurit Katz at
or call/text (818) 384-9493.

SoCal Raptors Species

The Southern California basin is rich in diversity of the raptors that live here. The most common breeding species you’ll see are:

Need Help Identifying a Raptor?

There are a number of helpful apps for birding such as eBird and Merlin. For raptor identification specifically, Raptor ID app from Hawkwatch International is available in the Apple Store and Google Play.

Consider joining the Raptor ID Facebook Group.

Good raptor field guides include:

Meet the Raptor Survey Team

Daniel S Cooper

Daniel S. Cooper

Study Director


Daniel S. Cooper is principal investigator and scientific advisor for Friends of Griffith Park. Dan grew up in Pasadena with a passion for birds and nature. His academic credentials include: Harvard University, U.C. Riverside (MS), and UCLA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (PhD). He is president of Cooper Ecological Monitoring.

As one of California’s leading ornithologists, Dan published Important Bird Areas of California and has a list of scientific publications to his credit. He has served several functions for California Audubon, including Director of Bird Conservation.

Beginning in late 2006, Dan became the lead ecologist conducting surveys under the umbrella Griffith Park Natural History Survey. After the 2007 park fire, Dan advised the Department of Recreation and Parks on fire recovery and was commissioned to write the Griffith Park Wildlife Management Plan. Highlights of his professional contributions to Griffith Park science include the Griffith Park Rare Plant Survey and the continuing Griffith Park Raptor Survey, both highly successful endeavors underwritten by FoGP.


Courtney McCammon

Volunteer Coordinator

Courtney McCammon has been integral in the LA Raptor Study’s success since its inception in 2017. She is an ecologist with an inordinate level of raptor experience, previously working on a similar raptor monitoring project in Orange Country. She owns and operates an environmental consulting firm in Los Angeles, and has worked together with Dan Cooper on various projects since 2012. Courtney loves the energy of the raptor project and enjoys interacting with the volunteers.
Courtney has a BS in Natural Science and MS in Urban Ecology from Loyola Marymount University.
Gerry Hans

Gerry Hans

President, Friends of Griffith Park


For well over fifteen years, Gerry Hans has been active with park issues and was a diligent member of the Griffith Park Master Plan Working Group which convened in 2005. He served as president of Oaks Homeowners for three years (2005-2007) and fought for the City’s toughest anti-mansionization code to protect the community’s unique character with plenty of open space. Gerry also played a role in establishing invaluable scientific work for the park beginning in late 2006 through the Griffith Park Natural History Survey. He served on the Parks, River and Open Space Committee of the local neighborhood council until 2010, and is currently active with the county-wide helicopter noise reduction movement.

Gerry comes from a large Midwest farm family of ten and holds a Biology degree from University of Illinois. He began graduate work at Colorado State in ecology, but was side-tracked by corporate positions, moving to Los Angeles 34 years ago. After leaving the corporate world, he and his spouse built a successful small business, from which he is now retired.

As a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park and its inaugural president, Gerry keeps busy tracking the organization’s progress with advocacy issues, including the revitalization of historic Fern Dell. He enjoys hiking and “botanizing” in Griffith Park, while thinking about ways to protect the park’s rich Mediterranean habitat and wildlife, in balance with recreation.

Gerry has been closely engaged with the science and conservation aspects within Griffith Park, and recently coordinated successful efforts with other conservationists to purchase and protect acreage adjacent to the Park.

Mary Button, Friends of Griffith Park

Nurit Katz

Outreach Coordinator


Nurit Katz A recent addition to the LA Raptor Study Administration, Nurit brings urban ecology experience including outdoor education, wildlife photography, and wildlife rescue. An active volunteer in the study in prior years, her unabashed enthusiasm and nest-side skills are hard to match. Nurit is UCLA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and an Instructor in the UCLA Extension Sustainability Certificate Program. She holds an MBA and a Masters in Public Policy from UCLA and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University.

2021 Raptor Survey volunteers include:

Adrine Arakelian, Kristyn Armour, Beth Armstrong-Shikano, Natalie Beckman-Smith, Laurie Bernhard, Allison Brooker, Mary Brooks, Tad Brown, Ann Brunner, Carol Brusha, Kent Bullard, Carolyn Canterbury, Cynthia Castelbanco, Andrea Cavanaugh, Kali Ciesemier, Chip Clements, Richard Davi, Jim Davison, Kchris deGelsey, Stephen DeKeater, Traci DeWilde, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, Diane Dickey, Ann Dittmer, Michael Dorman, Laura Drabkin, Fred Draper, Sean Dunagan, George Dutton, Barbara Ehrlich, Kristine Eller, Debbie Fagen, Lynn Ferro, Devin Goodwin, Katherine Gould, Leslie Graham, Stephanie Green, Mari Halliday, William Hallstrom, Kat Halsey, Gerry Hans, Sara Harris, Molly Hill, Jon Hofferman, Laurel Hunt, Mark Hunter, Katherine Izumi, Jeffrey Jaimi, Jessi Jones, Nurit Katz, Paul Kaye, Laura Keaton, Kristine Kidd, Whitney Kinnaird, Ken Klotzle, Jon Leaver, Peter Lennon, Greg Macek, Alex MacInnis, Dasha Maghooli, Richard Magram, Lisa Marlowe-Car, Nancy/Marley McKinse, Summer Moore, Andrew Mosema, Kris Mukai, David Mull, Corey Nickerson, Elinor Nissley, Christine Okinaga-Gatica, Katherine Pakradouni, Harry Pallenberg, Abel Pamatz, Kelly Park, Altagracia Perez, Maya Piergies, Susan Proffitt, Shana Rapoport, Danielle Rayne, Gary Regester, Susana Rinderle, Jeremy Rosenberg, Elizabeth Rowin, Larry Russell, Dale Schafe, Jonathan Silsby, Nancy Simpson, Dana Stangel, Kayla Stormont, Susan Streaser, James Strzelinski, Ben Teitelbaum, Stan Thompson, Rebecca Tinker, Sebastian Tobler, Lynne Toby, Brian Tomikawa, Linda Topper, Donald Tursman, Lisa Vebber, Gary Vlahakis, Jen Wang, Cheryl Weinfeld, Vaishali Whales, Debra Wilbur, Heather Wilson, Mark Wilson, Corrin Yep, George Young, Betty Ys, Julia Zepka

LA Raptor Study Volunteer Membership

Support FoGP’s Raptor Study

The best way to support the ongoing LA Raptor Study is by becoming a member of Friends of Griffith Park! Memberships start at $25. Join today!

FoGP is grateful for all our LA Raptor Study Volunteers. You continue to make this project successful year after year. When the final results of the year are shared, we hope you will be proud knowing you played a part!

Your support helps us to continue important preservation and advocacy work to keep Griffith Park the urban wilderness we need.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, your contribution is deductible to the full extent of the law.

How to Donate

Donate conveniently below or by check to Friends of Griffith Park (please specify RAPTOR STUDY VOLUNTEER MEMBERSHIP on the memo line). If you are already a member, go ahead and donate here again.

Friends of Griffith Park
P.O. Box 27573
Los Angeles, CA 90027-0573

Raptor Study Volunteer Membership

Click below to securely pay with a credit card.

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