Join us Thursday, May 20, at 7 pm PT for a free NightSchool livestream!

Signs of spring: flowers, pollinators, and bird songs. If you’ve noticed more avian chatter, movement, and transportation of nesting material, it’s because it’s bird breeding season. Join us to learn about how scientists monitor the health of California songbird populations and get a peek into the Academy’s stunning collection of eggs and nests.

  • To-dos for songbirds during the breeding season: Build a nest, keep hungry nestlings fed, & protect nest from predators. Hilary Allen, Avian Ecologist at Point Blue Conservation Science, talks about the sneaky and fascinating behavior of songbirds, and what nest monitoring can teach us about their reproductive success, fitness, and survival.
  • Because most birds sing when they are on their breeding territories, trained observers often survey birds by recognizing their unique calls and songs. Jack Dumbacher, Academy Curator of Ornithology, will talk about how this is done now, and introduce some of the exciting new technologies that researchers are developing to use song and automated recording units to scale up songbird surveys.
  • Collections manager Moe Flannery is back, taking viewers behind-the-scenes to explore some of the incredible songbird eggs and nests that are part of the ornithology collections. Now that birds are busy nest-building, it’s the perfect time of year to observe the intricacies and diversity of songbird construction and to marvel at the size of hummingbird eggs.

All NightLife virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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Upcoming ticketed museum events

May 13th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 40,000 live animals. For adults 21+.

May 27th at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy. For adults 21+.

June 10th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different.

Upcoming free virtual events

May 13th at 7:00 pm

Explore the tropical rainforests of the world with a session dedicated to these iconic and important ecosystems.

May 20th at 7:00 pm

Learn about bird breeding season and how scientists monitor the health of CA songbird populations.

May 27th at 7:00 pm

Get a better understanding of shark physiology and peer into some jaws and maws.