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Backcountry Point Count Technician


The Southern Sierra Research Station


Los Padres National Forest and the South Fork Kern River, California


United States

Last Date to Apply:

28 Feb 2018
Open until filled


Location: Los Padres National Forest and the South Fork Kern River, California
Duration: Early April through June with possible extension depending on interest. Start and End dates somewhat flexible.
Job Type: Seasonal Backcountry Point Count Technician
Application deadline: Applications should be submitted by 28 February 2017 for full consideration.
Number of Openings: 2
The Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is looking for two seasonal full-time riparian songbird survey technicians to conduct backcountry point counts in remote sites in Los Padres National Forest with secondary duties involving several riparian avian projects on the South Fork Kern River, Kern County, CA, which is located in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada. Each technician will be responsible for conducting 6 point count transects/ survey period in 3 survey periods from mid-April to end of June to collect baseline data for assessing response to future restoration efforts. Technicians will also be responsible for conducting vegetation assessments in LPNF, and entry and proofing of all point count and vegetation data collected.


Work in Los Padres National Forest will be conducted in rugged mountainous terrain which can be hot in June. Transects are located in remote conditions where data has not been previously collected because of logistical difficulties. Technicians should be prepared for adventure, as the duties of this position will involve camping in a tent close to the start of the next day’s transect, hiking up to 1 hour on hiking trails to the start of the transect possibly in the dark over rough terrain, early mornings in order to arrive at the start of the transect before sunrise, and traveling between point counts on unmaintained roads. Technicians should be prepared to think for themselves as this is the pilot year of the project. This is a position for someone who is independent, a self-starter, and a problem-solver.


Point count technicians will also have the opportunity to conduct field work on the South Fork Kern River when not in LPNF which could include point counts, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Willow Flycatcher surveys, nest searching for Common Yellowthroats, Yellow Warblers, and Song Sparrows, MAPS banding, Brown-headed Cowbird target-netting, and vegetation sampling depending on experience and interest.


The applicant is expected to work well independently, accomplish project tasks on schedule, follow field survey and safety protocols, coordinate their own field activities, and communicate well with fellow technicians and project supervisors.




Must be able to identify western riparian songbirds by sight and sound, have familiarity with western flora, a valid driver’s license, must possess camping equipment and backpacking gear, and be able to work closely with other technicians. Training for all survey protocols will be provided, but prior bird identification skills are required. Applicants with prior experience performing avian point count surveys and with backpacking experience will be given preference. Applicants must be in good physical condition.
Housing (while not at LPNF) and work vehicles are provided and salaries are $2,100-$2,400/month, DOE.


Applicants should email a single file which includes 1) a one-page cover letter including an example of problem solving skills and a backcountry experience of note (feel free to get creative), 2) a CV with dates of availability in a header, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of most pertinent references to: Patti Wohner at the following email address: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com. Please include your name and position being applied for, e.g., “Darwin_C_backcountry_point_count_technician” in the file name of your attachment. The Southern Sierra Research Station (www.southernsierraresearch.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.