Washington County Greenspace Bird Surveys

Portland Metro West | Year-Round

Important changes due to COVID-19:

All Rock Creek field surveys are on hold until PCC Rock Creek campus re-opens (likely in the summer of 2021). 

Cook Park (new site!) and Fernhill Wetlands community science surveys are moving forward as long as current guidelines allow it.  Please observe all local directives at all times.  This means, at minimum:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from any humans you may pass on the trails.
  • Only conduct surveys on your own or with members of your immediate household.
  • Bring hand sanitizer/disinfectant spray with you to clean your hands before getting back into your vehicles.
  • If you use any park facilities, wash your hands and avoid touching door handles.
  • Clean your survey equipment when you are finished, so that it is ready for your next survey and not harboring the virus at home.


Help us understand how bird communities are responding to habitat restoration efforts at important greenspaces in Washington County including at PCC Rock Creek, Cook Park and Fernhill Wetlands. Count and identify birds as you walk a trail.

The goals of this project are to help Clean Water Services and other partners understand how bird communities are responding to habitat restoration enhancement at key Washington County greenspaces and assess how effectively they provide ecological connectivity to the wider network of greenspaces in the Portland Metro region. This project aims to create increased awareness and appreciation of urban greenspaces that enhance livability for communities while also minimizing impacts to urban wildlife.

Important: Our emphasis is at Cook Park and PCC-Rock Creek so we encourage prioritizing eBird surveys at those sites. We recently completed a multi-year assessment of bird use at Fernhill Wetlands with the help of data collected by community scientists – thank you (see the findings below)!

Partners: Clean Water Services, Portland Community College – Rock Creek, eBird

Great Blue Heron flies low over the water with its wings spread wide.
Great Blue Heron, photo by Mick Thompson

About the Survey

  • Survey instructions: Please read protocols below for detailed instructions on how to conduct the surveys at each site.
  • When: Cook Park and Fernhill Wetlands surveys can be performed year-round. Rock Creek PCC surveys runs from April through October.
  • Where: Cook Park is in Tigard, PCC-Rock Creek in Bethany, and Fernhill Wetlands is located in Forest Grove. Surveys can be done by 1 or 2 people.
  • Time Commitment: It’s up to you but we recommend at least one survey every month. Surveys typically take less than 2 hours.
  • Reporting: Survey data entered into eBird. See protocols for specific eBird hotspots


Volunteer Requirements

  • Trainings: Survey trainings will be provided at PCC-Rock Creek and Cook Park. We typically conduct trainings in the early spring (check our events listing page). If you can not make the training we may be able to pair you with an experienced surveyor to visit the site.
  • Birding skills: Must be able to identify Pacific Northwest birds by sight and sound; must be comfortable using eBird. Less experienced volunteers can record data for the bird counter.
  • Equipment: Must have your own binoculars.
  • Field conditions: Must be able to walk 1-2 miles on paved and dirt paths.
  • Transportation to and from the site is your responsibility.



If you have questions contact Joe Liebezeit (jliebezeit@audubonportland.org) and Candace Larson (clarson@audubonportland.org).