The Marin Wildlife Picture Index is the first landscape level study of ecosystem health in North America. This project gives researchers a glimpse into the secret lives of animals residing on Marin’s public lands. Over time, the project will reveal trends about animal abundance, movement, and seasonal behavior. This will help scientists and land managers monitor biodiversity and support ecosystem well-being.

Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) at Mt. Tamalpais

This juvenile red-tailed hawk will get its characteristic red feathers when it reaches adulthood. They are commonly seen soaring over open fields, spotting rodents and other prey.

Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) at Mt. Tamalpais

The red-tailed hawk is the most widely distributed hawk in the Americas. They are also seen perched high near roadsides looking for food.

The Marin Wildlife Picture Index camera grid covers 10,800 contiguous acres managed by Marin County Parks, the Marin Municipal Water District, California State Parks, National Park Service, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. More than five million images have been catalogued.

The One Tam partnership mobilizes the resources of the National Park Service, California State Parks, The Marin Municipal Water District, Marin County Parks, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to ensure a vibrant future for Mt. Tamalpais.

Brush Rabbit

Brush rabbits are a type of cottontail and prefer to hang out near dense, brushy vegetation. Fearing predators, they will not leave cover for long and are crepuscular, meaning they are more active in the early morning and late evening.

Sylvilagus bachmani at Mt Tamalpais

Coyote (Canis latrans) at Mt. Tamalpais

Coyotes are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters. They will eat almost anything from agricultural pests to deer, snakes, insects, grass, and fruit. They have keen senses of smell, sight and hearing, and can run up to 40 miles per hour.

Gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) at Muir Woods

Gray foxes are solitary and only socialize during the breeding and kit-rearing season. They have a diverse, omnivorous diet and are mostly nocturnal. Other than the Asian raccoon dog, gray foxes are the only canids in the world that can climb trees.

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Bobcats can be identified by their short ("bobbed"), black-tipped tail, spotty pattern on their fur, and the tufts of fur on their cheeks and ears. They each have a unique spotted pattern on their body, making them individually identifiable.


Raccoons originated in the eastern United States preferring forests with waterways and marshes, and feasting on a diet of crayfish, invertebrates, animals, and plants. Their range grew with the expansion of European settlement and are now found throughout the continent.

Procyon lotor at Gary Giacomini

Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Jackrabbits are actually not rabbits, but hares. Hares are bigger than rabbits with longer ears and taller hind legs. They rely on sharp senses, camouflage, and quick speeds for protection and can jump up to 20 feet.

Lepus californicus) at Gary Giacomini

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) at Mt Tamalpais

Male deer (bucks) have antlers which grow annually. In the late spring, antlers are coated with a velvety tissue to help them grow. Once grown, a buck will rub them against a tree to remove the velvety layer.

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Bobcats are solitary creatures, only coming together during the breeding season. Mothers raise their young alone and teach their kittens to survive and hunt for about a year. Secretive and elusive, they are rarely seen by the average hiker.

Coyotes (Canis latrans) have keen senses of smell, sight and hearing, and can run up to 40 miles per hour.

Coyote territories range in size depending on food availability and may even consist of a patchwork of parks in urban environments.

Coyotes are mostly nocturnal. They sleep during the day. During breeding season they live in hidden dens, where they raise their young. The rest of the year they sleep outside.

Coyotes once primarily roamed open grasslands and deserts, but today are found in forests, mountains, and urban interfaces.

Coyotes are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters. They will eat almost anything from agricultural pests to deer, snakes, insects, grass, and fruit.

This young coyote has found a perfect sunny spot to fall asleep in Roy's Redwoods.

Since 2014, over 1,000 volunteers have supported the Marin Wildlife Picture Index project, maintaining cameras out in the field, and processing images on digital workstations.

Coyote (Canis latrans) at Cascade Canyon: One of the most common myths about coyotes is that they howl at the moon, but they’re just communicating their location with each other. Coyotes typically hunt alone but will form packs for larger prey such as deer.
Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) at Cascade Canyon: Striped skunks are identified by their signature black and white V coloration and bushy tails. They nest in burrows built by other animals, as well as hollowed out logs. Predators give them a wide berth due to their smelly spray.
Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Bobcats prefer woodland habitats, but are remarkably adaptable – ranging across most of North America, they have been sighted in swamps, deserts, and mountain habitats. They are sometimes reported near areas of human habitation, occasionally being mistaken for housecats.
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) at Mt Tamalpais: Insects are too small to reliably set off the cameras, but sometimes larger animals assist with getting the shot. Nocturnal insects and bats are occasionally photographed with deer during nighttime foraging; however, they are too small and quick to identify.
Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Burrowing owls live in open habitats with little vegetation. They spend most of their time on the ground or low perches. Burrowing owls nest and roost in burrows excavated by other animals, like ground squirrels and badgers.
Mountain lion (Puma concolor) at Gary Giacomini: This large cat, which is more closely related to house cats than big cats, has the largest range of any terrestrial wild animal in the western hemisphere. They also hold the world record for most names (40 in total!).

Motion-activated cameras have revolutionized the study of wildlife. Wildlife Picture Index technology was developed jointly by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London, in coordination with HP Earth Insights and Conservation International. This method of passively collecting reliable, accurate scientific data is being used to study animal diversity and abundance around the world.

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) at Cascade Canyon

Turkey vultures can be seen soaring at low elevations to sniff for carrion or riding thermals high in the sky. A group of these vultures is called a committee, or a kettle when in flight, or a wake when feeding.

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Roy's Redwoods

Bobcats are excellent hunters and will feast on rodents, snakes, and low-flying birds. They run up to 30 miles per hour and place their back feet in the same spot as their front feet to keep quiet when stalking prey.

The Marin Wildlife Picture Index is funded by Parks Measure A.