Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

A Partial Reopening: Welcoming Visitors to Palomarin Once Again

Hi Palo friends,

Late summer is always a time of transition here at the Palomarin Field Station, in a myriad of ways. Biologically, with the poison oak leaves already turning their autumn hues, and with the nesting season only just coming to a close while migrants are already returning (shorebirds are dropping into Point Reyes from their Arctic breeding grounds and I just heard my first ‘fall’ Western Tanager!). Meteorologically, between the hot sunny inland areas of the Bay Area counties and the heavy fog that the cold ocean keeps us blanketed in here on the coast – so much so that locals call this month “Fog-ust”. And personally, as our spring and summer bird-banding apprentices present their culminating capstone projects and will soon be welcoming the next crew, and then departing soon after. It is so much of a transition time that, while most of the continent feels steeped in summer at this stage of the calendar year, we feel ourselves on the cusp of fall – one’s definition of ‘fall’ for birders of course being in the eye of the [migrant] beholder.

Another exciting transition is that this summer, after almost two years of being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have – albeit in a modified way – begun regularly hosting visitors and school groups again for bird-banding demonstrations!

We are now offering by-appointment only, outdoor visits, even as our Nature Center remains closed and we continue to be closed to drop-in visitation. These visits give us a chance yet again to do one of the things we love most: to share the wonder of a bird in the hand with people of all ages, and share the science we do here, how we do it, and some of the exciting things we have learned during our 56 years of banding.

During the pandemic, we continued with most of our science and training programs, while our outreach efforts were significantly altered. We began (and are still) doing Facebook Live events, as a way to not only still share our work but also reach audiences who even outside of the pandemic would not have been able to attend (check out the Events section of our webpage for recordings of past and details on future sessions: And yet we have sorely missed hosting visitors on site and doing in-person outreach. Now that we have reinvigorated this, we are greatly appreciating the renewal of energy that comes with connecting people with nature, science, and birds, and are so glad to be reconnecting with our wider community in this tangible manner.

We hope to see you here as well! Come by for a chance to see a (wild) bird in the hand, to meet our banding apprentices and interns, and to learn about our science and what we’ve discovered about our bird populations. To learn more, and to request a by-appointment-only visit, check out Point Blue’s Contact & Visit Us page (

Banding is full of surprises, and exciting whether you are a veteran bander or a visitor seeing a bird-banding demonstration for the first time. You never know if a ‘net run’ (in which our banders, potentially with visitors in tow, check all our nets approximately every 30 minutes most mornings) will produce any birds, or what birds you are going to see – and learn – from one day to the next.

We can’t wait to have you out here!

Diana Humple
Palomarin Program Lead & Banding Coordinator


A breeding female Hooded Oriole, captured this summer at our Palomarin ‘off-site’, Pine Gulch, in the Bolinas Lagoon Open Space Preserve. Photo by Naomi Burns.


The mind-bending colors of a Violet-green Swallow, up close and personal, captured this summer. Photo by Larissa Babicz.