Desert Purple Martin Team - Saguaro Searchers and Nest Monitors ⋆ Tucson Audubon Skip to content

Volunteer Opportunity:




Desert Purple Martins are amazing birds that nest in saguaro cavities during the summer monsoon season. We need help monitoring our newly designed Purple Martin nestboxes to document usage and preference, as well as finding their nesting saguaros to prioritize our invasive plant work to protect their desert habitat.

Position Description:

Nestbox Monitoring: Monitor a set of nestboxes using an extension pole and an endoscopic camera. Report on behavioral observations.

Saguaro Searching: Visiting areas where Desert Purple Martins have been reported and trying to locate exactly which saguaro and nesting hole they are using. You need to be able to hike in desert terrain early in the morning.

Saguaro Nest Monitoring: Attend a training workshop on how to use endoscope cameras and extending poles to check inside saguaro holes. Once you are certified and added to our permit, you will be asked to monitor assigned nests or nests you find yourself. For this activity you must be in good physical shape and able to walk over rough desert terrain and manage an extending pole.


Must be able to walk approximately half a mile in rugged outdoor conditions; Lift and maneuver an aluminum extension pole; Ability to maneuver an extended pole into a saguaro cavity up to 25 feet up; Have a smartphone in order to use an endoscope app.


Nextbox Monitoring: July – August, every 2 weeks

Saguaro Searching & Nest Monitoring: June-early September on days chosen by volunteer

Number of Openings:

Nextbox Monitoring: 5 volunteers

Saguaro Searching & Nest Monitoring: Open


Nextbox Monitoring: West Desert Trails – Green Valley, Tucson Audubon Mason Center and Arthur Pack – NW Tucson, Las Milpitas Community Farm (Silverlake and I-10 area).

Interested in Nextbox Monitoring? Email: Olya Weekley, Applied Conservation Program Manager (

Saguaro Searching & Nestbox Monitoring: Sonoran Desert habitat near Tucson – Green Valley, AZ

Interested in Saguaro Searching & Nest Monitoring? Click here to register! For questions: Email Jennie MacFarland, Bird Conservation Biologist (