Red-tailed Hawk in Cedar Creek smoke - 2 cropped(
The same incredibly powerful respiratory system that helps birds fly makes them particularly vulnerable to smoke inhalation. 

Project Phoenix: Investigating Bird Responses to Smoke

Published July 20, 2023

Photo by Sevilla Rhoads

Project Phoenix leverages the power of community to learn more about how wildfire smoke impacts California birds.

While the negative health impacts of wildfire smoke on humans have been well studied, we do not know how more frequent and increasingly more devastating smoke events affect birds. The new community science project Project Phoenix is looking for answers to vital questions about birds and smoke events by asking participants to record birds in their neighborhood for 10 minutes once a week, from August to October.  Your observations will help scientists understand how smoke is impacting birds—and how we can better protect them in our rapidly warming world.


“We envision Project Phoenix as an opportunity to bring Californians together to celebrate and safeguard the birds that connect our communities. ”
— Olivia Sanderfoot, Program Director

What you need to know:

  • We're looking for participants to record birds in their neighborhood for 10 minutes once a week. 
  • Volunteers will be accepted on a rolling basis—it's not too late to participate.
  • New to birding? Not a problem! Check out these resources. We look forward to sharing our love of birds with everyone in our communities. 
  • We support the Birdability movement and welcome everyone to participate—including visually and/or hearing impaired folks.

Want to volunteer? 

Got questions?

Learn more about Project Phoenix at:

Project Phoenix is funded and supported by the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

red-tailed hawk wildfire smoke
Photo by Sevilla Rhoads