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  • Coastal Waterbird Biologist

    Guest Patricia Risher
    • Employer: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control/Division of Fish and Wildlife/Wildlife
      Location: Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, 6180 Hay Point Landing Rd., Smyrna, DE 19977
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 04/16/2023
      Open Until Filled: No


    The Coastal Waterbird Biologist position classification provides critical scientific data and technical support to the Division of Fish & Wildlife and other agencies to promote the conservation, protection and development of the State’s coastal land and water resources. The Coastal Waterbird Position reports directly to a program manager and works with staff in other divisions, public and private land management agencies, and willing landowners to identify and implement shoreline, agricultural and other land and water conservation activities that are critical to protecting coastal avian resources and associated land, water, and soil resources.   

    Delaware plays a critical role in the conservation of long-distance migratory shorebirds. It is the last critical stopover for Arctic-nesting shorebirds that arrive here to feed on the super-abundant supply of horseshoe crab eggs. Delaware also supports breeding beach nesting and colonial nesting bird populations, such as the federally threatened Piping Plover, Least Terns, Forester’s Terns, and others. The primary responsibilities of this position will be to implement the Delaware Shorebird Conservation Plan, and to develop and implement shorebird and colonial waterbird, and associated upland and wetland habitat, conservation management efforts based on actions and threats identified in Delaware’s State Wildlife Action Plan. This includes conducting research and monitoring activities on migratory, beach nesting, and colonial nesting shorebirds to ensure conservation actions are developed and implemented using sound science. The incumbent will have access to and will contribute to one of the largest datasets of marked shorebirds (both banding and resighting) including Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderling. In addition, the incumbent will be expected to coordinate and lead a large group of volunteers and scientists during an intense migratory shorebird field season, and throughout the beach nesting bird season. The focus of the position will be on the coastal habitats and avian resources of the state; however, the incumbent may also be responsible for other taxa and associated upland and wetland habitats, serving on regional and national science and planning teams and technical committees, and assisting with other conservation planning activities as needed.

    DUTIES: Specific responsibilities include the following:

    ·       Lead migratory, beach nesting shorebird and associated upland and wetland habitat research and monitoring activities for Delaware. This includes capture,              banding, marking, and processing many species of shorebird.

    ·       Lead the island nesting bird research, management, and conservation program.

    ·       Coordinate and lead a large team of volunteers to conduct shorebird and colonial waterbird monitoring.

    ·       Update and implement the Delaware Shorebird Conservation Plan.

    ·       Provide guidance on wildlife habitat restoration and management projects on private and public lands and assist with setting land-protection priorities for                conservation partners and for state agencies.

    ·       Organize, process, and analyze large amounts of data.

    ·       Ensure data is disseminated to partners in a timely manner.

    ·       Oversee contracts.

    ·       Supervise seasonal and/or contractual staff.

    ·       Develop and administer grants ensuring various deadlines are met.

    ·       Represent the Division of Fish and Wildlife on various technical committees.

    Website: https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/


    This position offers a comprehensive benefit package including: 37.5-hour work week with flexible scheduling options, 15 paid vacation days the first year, 9 paid holidays a year and 15 paid sick leave days per year.  Pension and health insurance are also included in the benefits package. Direct Deposit of paychecks will be required as a condition of employment for new employees.

    Location: Smyrna, Delaware

    Salary: $51,144/year


    1.     Possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher in Wildlife, Ecology, Conservation, Natural Resources, or related field. 

    2.    One year of experience managing wildlife research projects, which includes planning, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating projects to ensure           objectives are met.

    3.    One year of experience using GIS mapping programs such as ArcMap or Arc Pro.

    4.    Two years’ experience in analyzing and evaluating scientific data.

    5.   Two years’ experience conducting avian surveys and identifying birds by sight or sound.


    1.     Possession of a master’s degree or higher in Wildlife, Ecology, Conservation, Natural Resources or related field. 

    2.     One year of experience with capture, banding, marking, and processing birds, ideally including shorebirds.

    3.     One year of experience operating and navigating boats.


    Please send (as one pdf) a cover letter expressing your interest and how you meet each of the 5 minimum qualifications, a completed Kent Conservation District application (see below), and a copy of your resume to Patricia.Risher@delaware.gov by midnight EST April 15, 2023. Interviews are required and will be scheduled following the application deadline.

    Kent Conservation District application can be found at this location: http://www.kentcd.org/EmploymentOpportunities.htm

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