US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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C. John Ralph

C. John Ralph

Emeritus Scientist
1700 Bayview Drive
United States

Phone: 707-825-2992
Contact C. John Ralph

Current Research

His principal work is on landbird monitoring, especially involving census and constant effort mist netting.

An important result has been the Klamath Landbird Monitoring Network of stations in northern California and southern Oregon, with the Klamath and Humboldt Bay Bird Observatories. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Landbird Monitoring Network of the Americas, a cooperative venture bringing together bird researchers (individuals, NGOs, and agencies) to archive and make accessible bird banding data over the internet.

He also has heavy involvement with Partners in Flight, especially being co-chair of the Monitoring Working Group, immedidate past president of the Western Bird Banding Association, and with the North American Banding Council where he serves as vice-chair.

One of his principal research topics in recent years has been on an old-growth dependent bird, the Marbled Murrelet, involving extensive research from Alaska to California, both in inland forests and much work on monitoring offshore populations of this seabird.

Since 1994, he has directed research at a bird monitoring station in Costa Rica, now likely the longest running station in Latin America. This has expanded into several observatories in the country where he remains active. Beginning in 1980, he has conducted research on an island in the Bay of Islands off New Zealand involving monitoring and reintroduction of native birds.

He has participated in more than 250 scientific articles and reports and edited several books on bird monitoring and the Marbled Murrelet. A list of his publications can be found at

Past Research

Most of his early research was on bird migration and orientation. He was a cofounder (with L.R. Mewaldt) of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, served as its Director for a period, and continues his involvement with migration research and bird observatories in general, founding or co-founding several, more recently helping start the Klamath Bird Observatory based in southern Oregon and northern California.

After a stint as a professor teaching at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, he moved to Hawaii in 1976 where he began work on endangered forest birds for the Forest Service as a Research Ecologist. His work there focused on the behavioral ecology of the birds, especially foraging, population dynamics, and demography. In 1981 he and his family moved to Arcata, California to join the Forest Service's Redwood Sciences Laboratory.


  • The Johns Hopkins University, Sc.D.
  • San Jose State University, M.S.
  • University of California, B.S.


Research Highlights


Monitoring Network Saves Wealth of Data on American Bird Populations

Network archives data sets to address future large-scale conservation issues


Last updated on : 06/29/2020