Winter Raptors

Winter Raptor Surveys

The Central Valley Winter Raptor Survey was initiated in 2007 by Ed Pandolfino and Zach Smith, who wanted to develop a long-term monitoring effort for studying populations, distributional patterns, and habitat associations of raptors wintering in California’s Central Valley. There are currently 19 survey transects in the Central Valley, but additional transects have expanded the initial area of coverage to include areas outside of the Central Valley itself.

In the winter of 2009/2010 a TINS-coordinated transect was added in Sierra Valley, north of Truckee. A Carson Valley transect was added for the winter of 2016/2017. 

Each transect is surveyed at least once per month in December, January, and February. The surveys themselves are fairly casual and straightforward: a systematic drive along the transect by 2-4 people, with ample opportunity to get out of the car and study individual birds, scan fencelines with a scope, and stretch your legs - and you’re never far from the comfort of your car’s heater! It’s also a fantastic opportunity to study raptors in relatively high concentrations and see species that only occur in our region for a few chilly months out of the year.

We will need a few volunteers for this project next winter, and it’s a fun way to get out and do some birding in the middle of winter. No experience? Tag along and learn! Space is limited on TINS' surveys, but we will be adding maps, instructions, and data sheets to this page soon, so that folks can go out and conduct additional transects on their own. Interested persons are encouraged to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


Glimpse of TINS


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