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Behavior Watch: Bird Strike Study

  • A bright red bird, called a northern cardinal, perched in a tree with green leaves

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is looking for volunteers to participate, under the auspices of the Behavior Watch Program, in a systematic survey of Zoo grounds, looking at glass panel areas that are known for potential bird strike hazards. The goal is to identify problematic areas of the Zoo and ultimately apply preventative measures. Staff can then assess the effectiveness of these measures at preventing bird collisions. Volunteers will walk a set route assessing any bird strike events.

Weather permitting, surveys will take place daily, year round. Surveys will not take place during rain or snow events, or when temperatures are below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Volunteers must commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of one year. Shifts begin 15 minutes after local sunrise and last about one hour per person, with two people per day, or two hours per day for one person. 

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

This study will take place outside and require a significant amount of uphill walking. Applicants should have good observation and detail skills and not be squeamish.


Accepted participants must attend onsite training and complete an online orientation and training. There is a probationary period for all behavior watch volunteers.

Training will be set in March with a total of between four and eight hours.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval.