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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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
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