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Audubon Florida seeks a Biologist, Apalachicola Shorebird with boat handling experience to support beach-nesting season and nonbreeding season bird conservation work in the Eastern Florida Panhandle. They will work remotely in the Apalachicola region of southern Franklin County and travel to complete most of the work on and around beaches and islands including Little St. George Island, Dog Island, Flag Island Critical Wildlife Area, St. George Island Causeway Critical Wildlife Area and other sites as assigned.
From February to August, or later if nesting activity continues (breeding season), the Biologist, Apalachicola Shorebird will be responsible for performing independent beach-nesting bird monitoring and protection work primarily in Franklin County, Florida. Responsibilities include the following, in addition to other as-needed duties:
- Posting symbolic fencing around beach-nesting bird sites and maintaining said posting.
- Monitoring nest sites weekly, at minimum, for evidence of disturbance or predation.
- Documenting nonbreeding Piping, Snowy, Wilson’s plovers, and Red Knots, and other focal species.
- Performing weekly bird surveys to collect demographic data according to specified protocol, and banded bird resighting as directed; and
- Protecting sites from disturbance through predation management and game camera monitoring in cooperation with site managers and partner agencies, educating beachgoers about coastal bird species while encouraging compliance with posted areas, and engaging in outreach to user groups through presentations at organizational meetings.
From mid-August through mid-February (“non-breeding season”), they will be responsible for completing biweekly winter coastal bird surveys and banded bird resighting focusing on Red Knot, Piping Plover, and Snowy Plover, primarily in Franklin County, Florida, and elsewhere in the Florida Panhandle as needed; assisting with volunteer recruitment, management, and training; carrying out equipment maintenance; and giving public presentations and beach walks as outreach to key user groups that may impact conservation of coastal birds in the Florida Panhandle.
- In communication with the Panhandle Shorebird Project Manager and close collaboration with Carrabelle Shorebird Biologist, complete all site surveys.
- Post symbolic fencing as required or immediately when new nest sites are located.
- Conduct weekly, at a minimum, monitoring for nesting progress, predation, and disturbance according to the terms of Audubon’s contractual requirements.
- Survey assigned sites weekly, at minimum, to collect avian demographic data and enter data into the Florida Shorebird Database or other database as required and in a timely manner.
- Plan and conduct community outreach efforts such as public presentations, tabling events, and beach walks while educating and engaging the public about Florida’s focal shore/seabird species.
- Actively participate in regional working groups and partner workshops including delivering periodic technical presentations.
- Assist with other shorebird conservation and survey efforts.
- Determine and implement decision that minimize disturbance through predation management, data collection use of game cameras or other technology, alteration of posted nest-site boundaries, removal of posting materials and field equipment in advance of severe storm warnings, manage and report on bird mortalities, and implement disturbance minimization methods at nesting sites or migratory bird congregation sites.
- Review and conduct appropriate analysis of georeferenced data in Google Earth or ArcGIS Online software to provide quality control prior to submittal.
- Contribute to technical report writing as needed and submitting content for program-related publications in a variety of media.
- Oversee the maintenance needs of assigned program vehicles, trailers, boats and ATV/UTVs.
- Mentor and manage volunteers in monitoring, surveying, and stewardship activities.
- Other job-related duties as assigned.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor's degree in biology, wildlife ecology or related field required; master’s degree substitutes for 1 year of professional experience.
- 3 years/seasons demonstrated expertise in bird identification and performing demographic bird surveys using rigorous protocols is required. At least two years of experience in shorebird or seabird identification and rigorous surveys are required.
- Demonstrate experience operating and maintaining motorboats with trailer launch in challenging nearshore marine conditions or equivalent experience in freshwater environments is required.
- Kayak paddling experience in nearshore marine or open-water conditions is a plus.
- Demonstrated success with accurate recording of field-collected data and data entry using MS Excel, MS Access, or online web portal data entry is required.
- Must have strong organizational and analytical skills and great attention to detail.
- Superior communication skills and demonstrated ability to work independently and with multiple stakeholder groups. Comfort presenting in a group setting is a must.
- Excellent judgment, problem-solving skills, and decision-making skills, with a high degree of integrity in all deliverables.
- Demonstrated experience working with external partners and volunteers.
- Must be able to lift up to 35 lbs., and ability to traverse up to 5 miles on the beach carrying spotting scope, binoculars, and daypack with or without accommodation.
- Demonstrated experience with performing field work in challenging coastal conditions year-round.
- Ability to think strategically and creatively while managing multiple tasks, meeting deadlines, and operating in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Familiarity with coastal conservation lands of the Florida Panhandle a plus.
- Experience with setting up and operating cameras, including mobile (GoPro type), game cameras and remote detection technologies preferred.
- Familiarity with Florida coastal bird management and coastal conservation lands of the Florida Panhandle a plus.
- Must be able to work long days, weekends, and holidays as needed, in Florida summer field conditions.
- Ability to effectively manage time and complete tasks independently with minimal oversight.
- Must have a valid driver’s license.
- A genuine passion for conservation and for the mission of the National Audubon Society is a must.
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