Raptor Migration Intern

Full-time Internship


2018 GGRO Interns

GGRO Raptor Migration Internship, Golden Gate National Parks
Mid-June 2020 – Mid-January 2021


The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) is a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service and is made up of approximately 300 community volunteers and a small staff. The GGRO’s mission is to inspire the preservation of California birds of prey. Our business is to study the bird of prey migration along the central California coast, particularly at the Marin Headlands, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We are dedicated to the conservation of raptors through both careful data collection and involving the public in every aspect of our research.

GGRO is seeking passionate biology or environmental science students who enjoy learning about birds and interacting with many different and multifaceted people in team settings.

GGRO Interns will learn the scientific background of GGRO’s migration studies and our counting and banding field techniques, while discovering the ins and outs of a 35-year-old, muddy-boots, community science operation in an urban national park. Interns will learn to identify California raptor species, as well as other local birds and insects, and will also lead educational programs on Hawk Hill, interpreting the migration for park visitors and school groups.

Description of Duties

GGRO Interns will support the daily activities of our 300 volunteer scientists in close coordination with GGRO staff

  • Raptor migration field research

    • Identify and count up to 19 species of birds of prey

    • Trap and band hawks and falcons

    • Collect detailed and accurate data in the field

    • Animal husbandry

  • Data management 

    • Enter and proof migration data using Access database and Excel

    • Generate data reports

  • Outreach and education

    • Lead public talks on hawk biology and migration

    • Lead educational programs for volunteers

    • Maintain and create outreach materials for public display

    • Develop content for social media platforms and program newsletters

  • Administrative/Operational support

    • Provide logistical support for day-to-day office and field operations

    • Assist with special projects

Desired Qualifications 

  • Recent college graduate or current senior in biological sciences or related field

  • Passion for bird identification and wildlife study

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

  • Flexible, mature, self-motivated, and a sense of humor

  • Enthusiasm for welcoming, teaching, and inspiring multicultural audiences

  • Ability to work with large groups of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, genders, sexualities, ages, and viewpoints

  • Animal husbandry or wildlife handling experience a plus

Physical Requirements and Work Environments

  • Ready to work long hours outdoors (in inclement weather, on steep slopes, in rough terrain, and in poison oak)

  • Able to stay focused and upbeat in the face of sometimes-pervasive fog

  • Able to stand (and sit) for long periods of time

  • Able to lift up to 50 lbs


  • Gain knowledge of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and its mission

  • Develop proficiency in North American raptor species identification

  • Opportunity to become familiar with raptor biology, field methods, and scientific literature

  • Gain experience in conducting a long-term volunteer-staffed wildlife study

  • Opportunity to exercise teamwork and supervisory skills

  • Weekly taxable per diem stipend of $225/week is provided with dorm-style housing (single room, shared bath and kitchen) within walking distance of GGRO headquarters OR $375/week without housing


  • Start Date: June 15, 2020

  • End-date: Mid-January 2021 (flexible; may end as early as late-December, possibility to extend to late-March 2021)

  • Schedule: 5 days per week (schedule will be 5 consecutive days during field season but workdays may fall on weekends; flexibility required)

  • Valid US driver’s license required

  • To apply, please send a resume and thoughtful cover letter to Kelsie McInnis at ggro@parksconservancy.org

  • Please tell us how you learned of this internship opportunity

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy strives to engage a workforce reflective of the community it serves. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, gender, national or ethnic origin religion, sexual orientation, or physical disability. We will consider qualified candidates with criminal history in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.


More than ever, we need public lands where communities can come together.