Palomarin Field Station
The Palomarin Field Station is one of America’s premier locations for long-term studies on birds and their habitats. Located at the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore, biologists at the station have been conducting research and monitoring since 1966 that allow conservationists to understand changes—both natural and human-created—to guide conservation action.
Palomarin is also a renowned teaching facility. Over the years, hundreds of biologists-in-training have received hands-on education about ecology and conservation through our bird banding and nest searching internship programs. Interns are a vital component of our research, monitoring, and education work at Palomarin. Learn more about internship opportunities by visiting our internships page.
We also warmly welcome the public—including kids and school groups—at Palomarin to experience real science in action and observe wild birds up close!
Research at the Palomarin Field Station
Palomarin is the birthplace of many of Point Blue's science programs in the West, and the bird ecology study methods we’ve developed, tested and refined are now used by scientists throughout the world.
Every year, we band over 5,000 birds and monitor over 100 nests at Palomarin. View an animated graph of the changes we’ve documented in the breeding bird community since 1982. We also study weather, habitat changes, and plant phenology at Palomarin. Nearly 100 scientific manuscripts, theses, and dissertations have emerged from these efforts. Some can be found by perusing our Selected Publications list. In addition, a few recent examples using long-term data from the Palomarin Field Station can be found in these publication briefs:
- Young and adult Song Sparrows will respond differently to climate change
- Avian body size changes and climate change: warming or increasing variability?
- Forty-five years and counting: reflections from the Palomarin Field Station on the contribution of long-term monitoring and recommendations for the future
Palomarin's research has recently expanded to include migratory connectivity. During a time of accelerating changes in climate and land-use, being able to pinpoint bird populations’ breeding, wintering and stopover locations is critical to prioritizing conservation investments. Using new microtechnology, we are now able to safely attach tiny geolocator tags to birds that, when recovered, tell us where individual birds have stopped over to feed and rest, and where they overwinter or breed before returning to Palomarin. For more information view the video below and read these recent publication briefs:
- Geolocator tags reveal Golden-crowned Sparrow migration secrets
- Geolocator tags reveal strong migratory connectivity and within-winter movements for coastal California Swainson’s Thrushes
Visit and subscribe to our Palomarin Blog to get monthly bird banding updates, research news, and conservation insights from our field station staff and interns.
The Palomarin Field Station is the only Point Blue field site that is open to the public on a regular basis, and we welcome about 5,000 visitors every year. Small group drop-in visits welcome, for a group of 7or more, please schedule a visit.
Our unstaffed visitor center is open year-round, sunrise to sunset.
Palomarin is located near Bolinas, CA, about an hour north of San Francisco and within Point Reyes National Seashore, where there are plenty of other terrific outdoor opportunities, including birding, hiking, beach access, backpacking, and kayaking.
What you can do at Palomarin
- Join banders in checking the mist nets for birds.
- Watch as birds are banded and measured in the lab.
- Learn about our science through interactive displays.
- Take a walk on the wild side on the nature trail. Use this intern-created guide!
- Meet passionate science interns from around the world
Bird-banding demonstration schedule
May to Thanksgiving- sunrise to noon every day but Monday
Thanksgiving to May- sunrise to noon Wednesdays and Weekends
Closed on all major holidays.
Note: The mist-nets are opened 15 min. after sunrise and remain open for 6 hours each day. Come by early (between 8-11 am) for the best chance of seeing birds. Nets are not open on rainy or windy days. Call our hotline (415) 868-0655 ext. 395 to check conditions.
999 Mesa Road (for UPS/FedEx)
PO Box 1157 (for U.S. Postal Service)
Bolinas CA 94924
For groups of 7 or more, please schedule a visit.