Eyes On Nest Sites (EONS)

In collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy (BCC) launched Eyes On Nest Sites (EONS) in 2010 to monitor nesting success of the endangered California Least Tern and threatened Western Snowy Plover colonies at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Running from March to August, EONS is designed to be an immersive program that engages the public to learn more about nesting birds and the wildlife at Bolsa Chica.

No experience or equipment is required, everything will be provided by the Bolsa Chica Conservancy including a one-on-one training session on your first shift. MONITORING AND TRAINING will start the week of May 1st and the exact day and time will depend on which shift you get assigned to. Late sign-ups are welcome! Once you register on this page, we will send you an application to request a shift.

MONITORING (May-August): Volunteers participate 2 hours a week in active data collection and observations to gather valuable data for monitoring these species. The EONS monitoring season is from May to August.  All equipment needed will be provided and we will provide personalized training, no experience necessary! Must be 18 years or older or accompanied by an adult.

HABITAT RESTORATION (August-February): Nest Site Work Days are conducted twice a month in the non-breeding season to prepare the nest site for the reTERNing birds! Everyone is welcome to participate in habitat restoration with most work focusing on removing vegetation at the nest site. All tools will be provided but if you have your own work gloves feel free to bring them. The endangered California Least Tern prefers to nest on sandy beaches so we have created a safer “sandy beach” for them to nest at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Nest Site Work Days occur on the FIRST FRIDAY and THIRD SATURDAY of each month from August to February.


As these species are under protection, Bolsa Chica offers a unique opportunity for interested students and the general public to get up-close and observe these birds during their breeding season. Observations take place at Nest Site 1, which can be viewed at the end of the boardwalk located at the South Lot. Trained naturalists are available to provide information to the visiting public, while the public participates in recording observations of nesting birds and any wildlife activity. In particular, species identification, population counts, hatchlings and adults will be recorded as well as other birds and possible predators. Data collected from the observations will be recorded and analyzed by BCC and DFW biologists to determine strategies and approaches for increased success by the terns and plovers.

This program will run in conjunction with the regular surveys conducted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The extended survey hours will help acquire much needed data to better understand why these populations are failing to recover. Additionally, this activity will gather comparable data with other regions and local nesting sites, such as the Seal Beach Wildlife Refuge, the Least Tern Natural Preserve in Huntington Beach and Balboa Beach in Newport Beach. We hope to increase our knowledge by collecting relevant biological field data to better understand the needs, challenges and threats to these species, and to raise public awareness of the importance of such nesting grounds and wetland habitats. Monitoring days will be scheduled seven days a week, with three working shifts. So come and join us and participate as a volunteer in this exciting program!

The EONS program runs from April- August, depending on nesting activities. If you are interested in becoming an EONS Volunteer, please contact Jeannette Bush at 714.846.1114, jeannette@bolsachica.org, or click the button below (you may need to advance the bottom portion of the page to the next month to access a “valid registration date”. The dates are just arbitrary so they show up on the calendar, your training will be assigned after registration).


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