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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 raptors@friendsofgriffithpark.org

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.

2023 Final Report

2022 Final Report

2021 Final Report

2020 Final Report

2019 Final Report

2018 Final Report

2017 Final Report

Raptors in the News

2023 RAPTOR STUDY RESULTS: Report from Griffith Park Reporter

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
raptors@friendsofgriffithpark.org
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

Bio

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 and serves as the Deputy Executive Director for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. 

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.

Gerry Hans

Gerry Hans

President, Friends of Griffith Park

Bio

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.

Nurit

Nurit Katz

Outreach Coordinator

Bio

Nurit Katz Nurit brings urban ecology experience including outdoor education, wildlife photography, and wildlife rescue. An active volunteer in the study in early 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 also currently serves as Commissioner for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and serves on the LA City Biodiversity Expert Council. She holds an MBA and a Masters in Public Policy from UCLA and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University, and is pursuing a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. 

2023 Raptor Study volunteers include:

Gerardo Acuna, Kelsey Almendariz, Adrine Arakelian, Thais Arata, Beth Armstrong-Shikano, Carol Ayres, Katie Barrett, Kathryn Barton, Jenn Bastian, Nina Beckhardt, Natalie Beckman-Smith, Jason Benjamin, Laurie Bernhard, Shelley Billik, Stephanie Birnbaum, Michael  Blaney, Reza Bloomer, Shirley Bolanos, Harnawaz Boparai, Evan Boucher, Karen Boyarsky, Kate Bradbury, James Brock, Allison Brooker, Mary Brooks, Cameron Brown, Tad Brown, Carrie Brown-Kornarens, Lois Brunet, Ann Brunner, Carol Brusha, Ron Brusha, Coleen Brydon, Vanessa Bulkacz, Vanessa Bulkacz, Kent Bullard, Jeffrey Burbank, Carolyn Canterbury, Martha Carreon, Cindy Castaneda, Cynthia Castelbanco, Andrea Cavanaugh, Roberta  Cerveny, Rachel Chang, Diana Charkalis, Zoe Chodosh, Cassandra Chowdhury, Kali Ciesemier, Kali Ciesemier, Olivia Clark, Amy Clarke, Chip Clements, Akiko Crawford, Carley Creley, Ari Cuellar, Guido Cuellar, Joseph Curti, Aprille Curtis, Richard Davis, Jim Davison, Alexander deBarros, Kchris deGelsey, Stephen DeKeater, Amanda Demeritt, Julie Desmond, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, Diane Dickey, Larry Dorf, Julie Drake, Sean Dunagan, Lee Dunkman, George Dutton, Victoria Dyer, Dennis Eder, Barbara Ehrlich, Kristine Eller, Nicole Endacott, A.C. Esguerra, Debbie Fagen, Mickey Faigen, Katherine Fierro, Lizanne Fleming, Hannah Flynn, Mary Forgione, Toby Gad, Margaret Gallagher, Lina Gallucci, Joseph Garibay, Linda Gase, Shelley Gaytan, Anna Gelber, Laura Genao, Julia Glassman, Pilar Gonzalez, Jimena Gonzalez, Devin Goodwin, Tawni Gotbaum, Katherine Gould, David Grabias, Leslie Graham, Jessica Granger, Stephanie Green, Nora Greer, Scott Gruber, Ilana Gustafson, Kat Halsey, Gohar Hamo, Barbara Hiatt, Brittany Hilgers, Gay Hill, Brittany Hodgson, Liz Holguin, Stephen Horn, Jim Houghton, Cyndi Hubach, David Huh, Tom Hurst, Patricia Hutchinson, Jon Imamura, Bernadette Jazmines, Jaimi Jeffrey, David Jerkovich, FeiFei Jiang, Andrea Jimenez, David Jones, Jessi Jones, Penelope Jones, Kevin Jones, Amie Jordan, Anna Josenhans, Rachel Kaplan, Paul Kaye, Suzanne Kelly, Liz Kennedy, Natasha Khanna, Kate and Jack Kingen, Amber Kloss, Matthew Konersman, Anthony Kornarens, Richard Krafsur, Jo  Krajeski, Diana Kreshek, Suavek Lehmann, Rose Leibowitz, Melanie Levine, Joanne Lin, Kathryn Louyse, Madeline Low, Claudia Lowry, Bill Luddy, Rochelle Ludovisi, Greg Macek, Alex MacInnis, Charlotte Maddela, Lisa Marlowe-Carr, Rebecca Marschall, Gerry Matthews, Wolfgang Matthies, Dayna Mauer, Nancy and Marley McKinsey, Jessica Medrano, Lisa Meldrum, Sarah Mesle, Delayni Millar, Susana Morales, David Morales, Andrew Moseman, Kris Mukai, Merigan Mulhern, David Newland, Arkadiy Nigay, Gem Nigay, Bryan O’Donnell, Christine Okinaga-Gatica, Jocelyn  Orellana, Paula Orlovich, Tedra Osell, Johanna Page, Harry Pallenberg, Wendy Panikker, Betina Chimarios Papadeas, Heidi Paul, Cindy Pena, Maggie Perlman, Janmarie Perry, Caleb Peterson, Becky Phillips, Dan Pierce, Stephanie Pinnock, Caitlin Pohl, Jonny Poilpre, Jorge Ramirez, Pedro Ramirez, William Ramirez-Watson, Shana Rapoport, Matt Rauchberg, Susan Raudry, Emma Rault, Danielle Rayne, Steven Recinos, Richard Redman, Gary Regester, Ruben Reyes, Lin Rhys, Mary Richardson, Julia Rifa, Susana Rinderle, Logan Ritchey, Trevor Ritter, Khalid Robinson, JoAnna Rodriquez, Sarah James Roger, Tania Romero, Caren Rose, Jenn Rose, Elizabeth Rowin, Kristin Rozum, Lydia Sanchez, Paul Sauter, Dale Schafer, Tevin Schmitt, David Shadovitz, Robin Share, Poonam Sharma, Lisa Shipley, Amy Sims, Paul Martin Smith, Kelsi Smith, John Smith, Kathy Smith, Esprit Smith, Anita Sohus, Morrine Sosnow, Sylvia Stachura, Dana Stangel, Louise Steinman, Susan Sterr, Deanne Stillman, Susan Streaser, James Strzelinski, Caroline Su, Indu Subaiya, Frances Tait, Audrey Tawa, Joseph Taylor, Stan Thompson, Annie Thornton, Linda Topper, David Torfeh, Jose Tovar, Johnathan Tracy, Christina Van Oosten, Diana Wagman, Alexa Walters, Jen Wang, Deborah Weirick, Michelle West, Amy White, Debra Wilbur, Heather Wilson, Jason Wise, Melody Wong, Ronnie Wong, Angela Woodside, Heidi Yang, Jackson Yean, Patricia Yee, Corrin Yep, George Young, Melissa Young, Taylor Zagelbaum, and Alexandra Zedalis.

 

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

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