Projects

The Birds and Mammals Department is involved in many projects on the study of Birds and Mammals in the southern California region.

San Diego County Bird Atlas

The San Diego County Bird Atlas is one of the most ambitious research projects the San Diego Natural History Museum has ever undertaken. It establishes a new benchmark for knowledge of birds in the region of the United States with more species than any other: 492 natives, migrants, and well-established exotics. Learn more.

San Diego County Mammal Atlas

Mammals are an integral part of the rich ecology in San Diego County—a recognized biodiversity hotspot. Despite the critical role mammals play in our environment, there has been no synthesis of their identification, distribution, natural history, or the conservation challenges they face—until now. Learn more.


Post-Fire Studies of Birds

In 2002 and 2003, over 1500 square miles of southern California burned in firestorms unequaled for over a century, the largest fires since accurate records have been kept. Because of the fires’ unprecedented size, their effects on the ecosystem were unknown and unpredictable. Learn more.

Post-Fire Studies of Mammals

In 2002 and 2003, over 1500 square miles of southern California burned in firestorms unequaled for over a century, the largest fires since accurate records have been kept. Because of the fires’ unprecedented size, their effects on the ecosystem were unknown and unpredictable. Learn more.


San Jacinto Resurvey

In 1908 the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley mounted an expedition to the San Jacinto Mountain region, pioneering the exploration of southern California’s biology. On the 100th anniversary of this expedition, from 2008 to 2010, the San Diego Natural History Museum is retracing its path to see how the area’s wildlife has changed over the last century. Learn more.

Flying Squirrel Study

The San Diego Natural History Museum is launching a new study in collaboration with citizen scientists, the U.S. Forest Service, Big Bear Zoo, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to determine the distribution and habitat use of the San Bernardino Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus californicus), specifically along the urban edge where residential properties meet the natural environment. Learn more.


Grinnell Desert Resurvey

In 1908, pioneer ecologist Joseph Grinnell inaugurated the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) at the University of California, Berkeley, with an expedition to the San Jacinto Mountains. Until his death in 1939, he continued his mission to document the fauna of western North America before it was forever transformed by human population growth and land-use changes. Learn more.


What We’re Up To

Three Ways to See Wildlife After Dark

Posted: September 29, 2022

Spotting animals in the wild is hard, but researchers from The Nat have a few easy tricks up their sleeves. Here are three things you can do to spot wildlife when it's most active—at night.   Read more.


When life gives you a whale head, you bury it, then give it a bath, and let the research begin.   Read more.


For homeowners, being fire safe usually means pruning trees and bushes around dwellings. But this brings with it the potential to disturb bird nests during the height of breeding season. Learn how to remain fire safe while minimizing the impact on our feathered friends.   Read more.


Calling all birders and community scientists! Between now and the end of July, we need your help observing nesting raptors in and around the Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve. This is a great opportunity to observe wildlife while helping scientists with important research and conservation work.  Read more.


A recent paper presents data about the first use of chickens for food in the state of California during the 1700s. At the San Diego Presidio, women may have been involved in small-scale husbandry of chickens to benefit their subsistence diet, as well as a possible source for barter or income. Zooarchaeologists used bones from our collection as points of comparison in their research. Read more.