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  • Public Health Technician - Avian Surveillance Technician

    • Employer: Harris County Public Health Services
      Location: Houston, TX
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/18/2020
      Open Until Filled: No

    Position Description

    This is a regular, full-time position; salary is commensurate with experience.

    Under the supervision of the Avian Biologist, the Avian Surveillance Technician carries out daily laboratory and field activities to ensure the successful operations of year-round avian surveillance program for West Nile virus (WNV), Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and other arboviruses in Harris County.

    Please apply at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/harriscountytx/jobs/2661010/public-health-technician-avian-surveillance-technician

    Duties and Responsibilities: 
    Field Duties 

    • Conducts live bird trapping and sampling activities that include humanely trapping, banding, sexing, aging, and drawing blood samples from wild birds in accordance with all Federal and State laws as well as Harris County Policies and Procedures.
    • Locates suitable trapping locations and obtains all necessary permissions in accordance with Federal and State laws as well as Harris County Policies and Procedures.
    • Responds to dead bird reports and collects dead birds for arboviral testing, and records all required information.
    • Assists in training Seasonal Avian Technicians to humanely trap, identify, sex, age, band, bleed, and release wild birds in accordance with all Federal, State laws, and Harris County Policies and Procedures.
    • Assists in training seasonal Avian Technicians to respond to dead bird reports, collects dead bird specimens for arboviral testing, and fills out all necessary paperwork for dead bird specimens.
    • Conducts Avian Surveillance demonstrations for Core Tours, outreach events, educates the public about WNV, the Avian Surveillance Program and the role of Public Health and the Mosquito and Vector Control Division.
    • Assists with field projects and research initiatives.

    Laboratory Duties 

    • Conducts WNV diagnostic testing on dead bird specimens and samples from live birds, which includes but is not limited to the use of RAMP test kits, while maintaining BSL 2 level safety standards and following all Harris County safety procedures as needed.
    • Assists in coordinating the timely testing of all avian samples amongst various laboratories, including the MVCD Avian Laboratory, the MVCD Virology Laboratory and the University of Texas Medical Branch as needed.
    • Transports dead bird specimens and samples from live birds to the University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston for additional testing as needed.
    • Assists in the training of Avian Technicians to conduct basic laboratory work and diagnostic testing as needed.
    • Assists with laboratory projects and research initiatives as needed.

    Administrative Duties 

    • Maintains an inventory of Avian surveillance equipment and supplies.
    • Ensures equipment (i.e mist-nets) is maintained in good condition.
    • Enters avian capture data and laboratory test results into the MVCD database system in a timely and accurate manner.
    • Answers calls from the Dead Bird Hotline in a polite and professional manner while obtaining all necessary information for record-keeping.
    • Assists the public by addressing any miscellaneous questions that may arise.
    • Trains Seasonal Avian Technicians on Dead Bird Hotline policies and procedures, and ensures all necessary information is obtained.
    • Ensures that all surveillance vehicles are properly maintained, cleaned and organized.
    • Assists in supervising Seasonal Avian Technicians in the Avian Supervisor's absence.

    Other Responsibilities 

    • Assists other sections as needed during recovery period.
    • Performs other duties as assigned including special tasks involved in responding to an emergency event.



    • Associate degree (or 60 college credit hours) in Biology, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, or a related field from an accredited college or university; and
    • One (1) year of professional work experience in wildlife ecology or related field, with three (3) months experience in bird identification, mist-netting, or bird banding.
    • Basic competency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, as well as data entry skills.
    • Must have or be able to obtain a valid Driver's license (TX upon hire) and a good driving record.
    • Must be comfortable working outside in hot and humid conditions.
    • Must be comfortable working in urban, suburban, rural, and natural environments.


    Preferred Qualifications:

    • Bachelor's degree in Biology, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, or a related field from an accredited college or university.
    • Familiar with Federal and State bird banding policies and procedures.



    Harris County offers a competitive benefits program for regular (full-time) employees, including comprehensive group health and related benefits plan as well as defined benefit retirement plan.

    • Medical
    • Dental
    • Vision
    • Wellness
    • Life Insurance
    • Long-term disability
    • Employee Assistance Program
    • 10 days of vacation each year for the first five (5) years of service. Accrual rates increase based on years of service.
    • 10 county holidays plus one (1) floating holiday
    • Professional development opportunities
    • Dependent Care Reimbursement Plan
    • Healthcare Reimbursement Account
    • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
    • Retirement pension (TCDRS) Flexible schedules (varies by department)
    • Transportation Assistance (Metro RideSponsor Program)

    Harris County is an Equal Opportunity Employer
    If you need special services or accommodations, please call (713) 274-5445 or email ADACoordinator@bmd.hctx.net

    Due to a high volume of applications positions may close prior to the advertised closing date. 

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