Since 1965, team members from Point Blue have been working diligently to protect and enhance nature with strong science and partnerships.  The following is a sampling of some awards and accomplishments.

Featured Award:

Catherine Hickey, Conservation Director of our Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group, is the 2016 recipient of the Gary T. Myers Bird Conservation Award

With this award, the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee and the Association of Joint Venture Management Board (AJVMB) recognize individuals or groups who have shown exceptional accomplishments and/or leadership in bird conservation in furtherance of the principles of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the national/international bird initiatives (North American Waterfowl Management Plan, Partners in Flight, Waterbird Conservation for the Americas, National Shorebird Plans, and the resident game bird plans).

For the past 20 years Catherine has worked tirelessly and passionately with others to conserve shorebirds and their wetland habitats and plans to continue that work far into the future.  She represents one of our organization-wide efforts to incorporate climate-smart principles into conservation planning efforts on an international scale to maintain thriving populations of climate change-resilient wetland communities for generations to come.

Here are some of Catherine’s accomplishments that qualified her for this award:


Awards, a sampling

The following awards signify Point Blue’s commitment to conservation and partnership!

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Celebrating 50 Years of Point Blue Accomplishments - 1965-2015

1965 Point Reyes Bird Observatory was incorporated as a non-profit, tax-exempt, scientific research facility.

1966 PRBO’s Palomarin Field Station initiates the longest continuous population study of songbirds in the Western U.S.

1968 PRBO, in cooperation with the USFWS, establishes a permanent research station on the Farallon Islands, home today to over 300,000 breeding seabirds, 5 species of seals and sea lions and helped restore populations of common murres and Northern Fur Seals. This began the first and now the longest running long-term multispecies study of seabirds and marine mammals in North America.
1969 our data on key shorebird feeding areas in the Limantour estero resulted in the National Park Service amending their master plan to ensure that Limantour would remain a natural area.

1971 PRBO initiates the Beached Bird Project as a result of the Chevron oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. This project provides the first information on beached birds in the Pacific.

1972 The first Elephant Seal pup is born on the Farallon Islands in 150 years! This marks the beginning of PRBO’s Farallon study of Northern Elephant Seal breeding biology.

1977 PRBO puts the first nest boxes on the Farallon Islands, pioneering restoration methods for cavity-nesting seabirds.

1979 PRBO begins a long-term study of coastal scrub community ecology at Palomarin using marked birds to compile life histories as well as information about bird-habitat relationships.

1982 – 1990 PRBO data contributes to the establishment of three National Marine Sanctuaries and an International Biosphere Reserve in Central California.

1983 PRBO begins studying the California Gull colony on Mono Lake (east of Yosemite), generating data that proved crucial in the 1994 decision by the State Water Board to protect the Mono Lake ecosystem.

1985 – 1990 PRBO leads the campaign to end gill-net fishing in Central California resulting in a 1987 ban on gill-netting in the Gulf of the Farallones and in northern Monterey Bay.

1987 PRBO publishes a paper suggesting a link between the Chernobyl nuclear accident and rainfall to songbird productivity based on a decade of mist-netting data from the Palomarin Field Station. This study was instrumental in showing the importance of long-term demographic monitoring and helped launch a continental monitoring program that uses constant effort mist-netting to measure productivity and survival for landbirds.

1988 PRBO begins the Pacific Flyway Project to document the reliance of shorebirds on all major wetland sites in western North America. Research resulted in the designation of San Francisco Bay as a site of “hemispheric importance,” (used by more than 500,000 individuals) in 1989

1991 PRBO was contracted to assess the impact of a major toxic chemical spill in the Sacramento River (“Cantera Loop Spill’) to populations of landbirds.  The novel approach of using mist-nest and nest searching to assess the impact to demography contributed to a $14 million settlement by the Southern Pacific Railroad and expanded PRBO's long-term songbird monitoring to the Central Valley.

1992 PRBO helps found California Partners in Flight, a coalition of agencies, nonprofits, and individuals working to keep common birds common.


1993 – 1996 Twenty years of PRBO data result in the federal protection and listing of the Western Snowy Plover under the Endangered Species Act.


1995 The Mount Vision Wildfire burns over 12,000 acres, giving PRBO a unique chance to study songbirds’ response to fire. The ongoing study yields management recommendations for the beneficial uses of controlled burns to enhance wildlife habitats.

1996 The first Northern Fur Seal pup is born on the Farallon Islands after this species was hunted out by fur traders in the early 1800s.

1997-1999 PRBO biologists, in cooperation with the National Park Service, develop a new, less intrusive protocol for monitoring Northern Spotted Owls that minimizes human interaction.

1997 - 2006- Point Blue monitored birds in riparian habitats across the Eastern Sierra Nevada and data from sites containing aspen habitat were included in later projects.


1998-2005 We contributed to efforts to recover the endangered San Clemente Island subspecies of Loggerhead Shrike through careful monitoring of wild and reintroduced shrikes.  Only 13 wild individuals remained of the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike in 1998. PRBO joined a recovery team that included the U.S. Navy, Zoological Society of San Diego, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, with the goal of population recovery. The wild population in the spring of 2001 was over 60 birds.



2001 Point Blue began a project monitoring birds across meadows on the Almanor Ranger District of Lassen National Forest. In 2009, we expanded our work to the entire Feather River Watershed in Plumas County, including monitoring a number of sites that have been, or are being proposed for restoration by the Feather River Coordinated Resource Management Group. The objectives of this project are to collect information on bird distribution in meadows and their response to different restoration techniques and use this information, along with our local knowledge working with partners, to help guide future meadow restoration actions across the Sierra Nevada.



2004 Began a project monitoring birds across aspen habitat on the Eagle Lake and Almanor Ranger Districts of the Lassen National Forest to evaluate aspen restoration treatments by monitoring the response of a suite of landbird species associated with a broad range of aspen habitat characteristics, and then to use this knowledge to guide adaptive management.

2005 In June our biologists documented the first nesting of the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo at the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (west of Modesto, California) in 86 years!

2006 Present Co-founder and main host of the Avian Knowledge Network, providing access to long-term bird monitoring data from across the Western Hemisphere.

2007 The Sierra Nevada Forest Plan was amended to adopt a common list of MIS and associated monitoring strategies for all ten forests in the Sierra Nevada.  We have designed a plan for monitoring and evaluating the response of four of the twelve Management Indicator Species(MIS) selected by the Forest Service to help guide management of the 10 Sierra Nevada National Forests: Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus) was selected as the indicator for early and mid-seral conifer forest, Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) as the indicator for chaparral shrubland, Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) as the indicator for riparian habitat, and Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) as the indicator for snags in green forest.











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