Volunteer at GGRO

Join the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory!


The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) uses long-term volunteer-powered research programs to track the fall migration of raptors through the Marin Headlands. We recruit in late April or early May, with training for new volunteers offered only once a year in July and August, for participation in either the Hawkwatch or Banding program. 

All GGRO volunteers commit to one regular, full field day in the Marin Headlands every two weeks (i.e. every other Tuesday, every other Sunday, etc.) during our sixteen week monitoring period, mid-August to December. All training is provided. Hawkwatchers must be 18 years old or have an adult guardian hawkwatching with them; banders must be 18.

New hawkwatchers are accepted annually. We recruit new banders every other year to accomodate the more rigorous training requirements. Our next banding recruitment will be in 2020. If you would like to be notified when recruitment opens for any of our programs, or have questions, please send us a message at ggro@parksconservancy.org.


Volunteer hawkwatchers count migrating hawks as they pass through the Headlands. Hawkwatchers meet in the Headlands at 8:30AM and count from 9:30AM–3:30PM on Hawk Hill, then come back to the office for administrative tasks before leaving by 4:30PM. (Weather permitting. On heavy fog or rainy days hawkwatchers wait until 1PM for conditions clear, or sometimes they end up quitting early after being able to start on time.)


Volunteer banders trap and band raptors and take measurements on each hawk. Trainings and workdays are more rigorous for the banders, with some mandatory tasks in spring and summer as well, so there is a larger commitment. Banders' field days start at 7:45AM and sometimes last until the evening, depending on weather and bird activity.


We also have an annual internship program for recent college grads to work full-time from July-January, participating in all aspects of the GGRO.

Make a special year-end gift and it will DOUBLE up to $250,000!

Make a special year-end donation to the parks today to help us restore native plants, protect endangered species, and introduce kids to the wonders of nature.