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Seasonal Avian Field Biologist (Loggerhead Shrike)


Institute for Wildlife Studies


San Clemente Island, CA (offshore San Diego)


United States

Last Date to Apply:

30 Nov 2017


Seasonal Avian Field Biologist (Loggerhead Shrike)


Job Description: The Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS) is seeking applicants for seasonal avian field biologists to assist with the release and monitoring of the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike (SCLS), a federally endangered, endemic subspecies on San Clemente Island (SCI), California. SCI is the southernmost of the California Channel Islands, located 68 miles off the coast of San Diego, and is an active U.S. Navy base. These are 7-month (approx.) positions beginning 1 March. Contingent on performance and funding availability, seasonal employees may be offered promotions to full-time positions, which include additional health benefits and paid vacation.


Field Biologist duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Nest searching and monitoring;
  • Behavioral observation and color-band re-sighting of wild and captive shrikes;
  • Releasing captive-origin shrikes, and providing supplemental food to captive and released shrikes;
  • Daily radio-telemetry of released shrikes;
  • Trapping and banding (depending on permitting qualifications) nestling and adult shrikes;
  • Cage construction and maintenance;
  • Data management in Microsoft Access and Excel, and in ArcView GIS; and,
  • Day-to-day upkeep of the field station and IWS equipment.


***Start date to be discussed during interview, but will likely be between 15 February and 1 March.***


Qualifications: We are seeking enthusiastic biologists with strong field work and research backgrounds who are committed to conservation and applied ecology. This position requires extreme patience, sharp observation skills using spotting scopes and binoculars, and the ability to hike daily in extremely steep, rugged terrain.


Because this work is conducted on a military installation, each applicant must be a citizen of the United States or be covered under a TN NAFTA work visa and possess (or be willing to acquire before the position starts) a valid U.S. driver’s license. In addition, the Navy will perform a post-hire background check before issuing a base access credential.


Each successful candidate will have earned a B.S. in wildlife biology, ecology or a related field and have experience with avian biology. Preferred qualifications include experience with: nest searching and monitoring, behavioral observation, color band identification, radio telemetry, passerine banding, and the operation of 4-wheel drive vehicles on primitive roads. Applicants should be in excellent physical condition and be comfortable hiking alone for 3–5 miles with a 30–40 pound pack in steep, rocky, cactus-covered terrain and in temperatures ranging from 40–100°F.


SCI is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy as a training facility and personnel will be required to follow established military protocols and rules, including keeping a clean and organized work and living space.


Applicants should enjoy living as part of a small research community in a busy field station, interacting with biologists working on other projects, and working with military personnel and members of other organizations who may have varying missions, opinions, and personalities. Additionally, applicants must be willing to participate in the day-to-day upkeep of a busy field station, including cleaning work vehicles and shared kitchen/office space. Employees work 10 days on island, and then take 4 off (off island). All employment offers are contingent on the insurability of the applicant by IWS and applicants will be asked to provide information to verify their driving record. Additional information regarding IWS research on SCI is available on the IWS website (www.iws.org).


Compensation: Approximately $2,610/month (based on an hourly rate) plus health benefits. We also provide both housing and a food stipend while on island. Transportation to and from SCI each week via twin-engine propeller planes flying out of the Naval Base Coronado in San Diego is provided. Off-island accommodations and food are not provided, but off-island accommodation options include hotels, camping, or short-term apartment sharing with other biologists.


Application Procedure: To apply send a SINGLE file containing a combined cover letter, resume, and names and contact information for 3 professional references (including telephone number, email, and work address). Please state the number of adult and nestling passerines (or small falcons/owls) you have banded. Banding experience is strongly preferred, but not required. Send application materials to Justyn Stahl at jstahl [AT] iws.org. Please indicate ‘shrike job’ in the subject heading. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received and we therefore encourage interested parties to apply promptly. This announcement will be open until all positions have been filled.