Volunteer Opportunities

Would you like to have fun outdoors, see lots of amazing animals, and contribute to a globally-unique scientific research project?  Then read on!

Song Sparrow crew hard at work on Portland Island

From March to August each year we work together with enthusiastic volunteers from the naturalist community, as well as students and colleagues from UVic, SFU, U of T, and UWO, studying the physiological, behavioural and demographic effects of food and predators on Song Sparrows, at several sites in and around Victoria, B.C.

Colour-banded Song Sparrow
Colour-banded Song Sparrow

Every year we monitor about 100 Song Sparrow territories located on several small Gulf Islands (Brackman, Hood, Portland, Russell and Tortoise) near the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Potter trapping
Potter trapping (small box bottom left) and mist-netting on Portland Island

We welcome the participation of any enthusiastic naturalist in our study.  Our activities include basic bird watching for the identification of colour-banded individuals, nest searching, mist-netting, measuring nestlings, radio-tracking juveniles, and small mammal inventories for predator identification.

Colour-banding and measuring nestlings

Travel to the islands is via a small boat, which requires a bit of stamina, but offers rewards in the form of breathtaking scenery and the chance to see seals, porpoises, Rhinoceros Auklets, Marbled Murrelets and other marine life.

Don't worry, we do have a bigger boat than this!

If you would like to volunteer, please download the volunteer sign-up sheet in MS Excel  format, fill it in and send it to us as an e-mail attachment, or download the Adobe PDF  version, print it out, fill it in and post it to us.  For more information please e-mail or phone:

Dr. Liana Zanette

Department of Biology
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, N6A 5B7
Ph: (519) 661-2111 ext. 88317


The dip
Liana, Elena and Anne look on as research assistants Chris de Ruyck and Josh Malt take a dip

Wildlife population ecology, behaviour, physiology and conservation