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  • Senior Avian Ecologist

    Jessica Paul-Mullikin
    • Employer: Point Blue Conservation Science
      Location: Central Valley, California
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/12/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    Senior Avian Ecologist at Point Blue Conservation Science 

    Location: Central Valley, California

    Deadline to Apply: March 12, 2023

    Position Type: Full Time, Exempt 

    About Point Blue:

    Point Blue Conservation Science is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our mission and programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activities, from applied ecological research to restoration to environmental education to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture. We have a proven track record of scientific excellence.

    We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

    Work Area Description: Point Blue Conservation Science conducts research on multiple-benefit conservation in California’s Central Valley, with conservation of wetland-dependent birds as a primary focus. Working closely with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon California, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and other partners, including private landowners, water districts, and industry groups, Point Blue ecologists gather data on wetland-dependent birds, their habitats, and management practices on both public and private lands which are used to identify and implement strategic conservation actions, programs, and policies designed to sustain wetland-dependent bird populations and to protect and enhance the Central Valley agroecosystem.  

    Position Description: Working with a dynamic, collaborative team and under the supervision of the Director and Research Director of Point Blue’s Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group, the Central Valley Avian Ecologist will be one of Point Blue’s lead representatives and liaisons to agencies and partners in the Central Valley. This position will help evolve Point Blue’s conservation science strategy in the Central Valley and will be an important part of the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership (MBCP). For more information about the MBCP see: https://www.pointblue.org/our-work/working-landscapes/. Specifically, this position will serve as Point Blue’s lead in an ongoing study evaluating the impact of drought on migratory shorebirds. This project involves the capture, radio-tagging, and bleeding of shorebirds in the Central Valley to better understand how drought influences their body condition and movements. The position will also work closely with The Nature Conservancy and Audubon California to implement habitat incentive programs on private lands by leading the analytics to assess where and when habitat should be created to have the maximum benefit for wetland dependent birds, particularly shorebirds. The position will work with existing datasets and newly collected data to conduct analyses of the effectiveness of incentive programs and various land management practices.  The position will also provide technical consultation to key partners and partnerships. 

    Primary duties include, but are not limited to: 

    • Leading management of large data sets, generating data summaries, and conducting analyses, as well as writing reports, grant proposals, and scientific papers.
    • Overseeing, coordinating, and participating in shorebird capture and marking.
    • Training and supervising seasonal field staff and overseeing field staff participating from external partners and agencies.
    • Communicating with internal and external partners, including private and public landowners and land managers, about conservation and management actions to benefit wetland-dependent birds, and working in close collaboration with partners to advance the goals of the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership and the Central Valley Joint Venture. 
    • Reviewing and commenting on strategic planning or other environmental documents and working with Point Blue project leaders and other staff and external collaborators to develop and deliver science-based recommendations for specific adaptation efforts and related activities in the Central Valley. 
    • Serving as a leader in developing collaborative projects, grant proposals, and partnerships, and helping to shape the evolution of Point Blue’s multiple-benefit conservation work in the Central Valley.


    We envision this position will be well suited for an individual with a combination of education and experience equivalent to a master’s degree in ecology, biology, environmental science, or a related field.


    • Must have a passion for nature and conservation, and a strong interest in applied conservation science in California’s Central Valley.
    • At least 2-years experience managing projects, including setting short- and long-term milestones, communicating timelines, overseeing progress, and implementing plans to meet goals and deliverables
    • Excellent interpersonal communication skills and judgment in working on a team toward common goals, such as the ability to facilitate meetings, clearly communicate and respond to problems, and come to alignment on decisions with colleagues and partners.
    • Ability to lead complex data management and quantitative analyses.
    • Technical writing expertise, such as demonstrated through serving as lead author on grant proposals, reports, and/or peer-reviewed scientific papers.
    • Highly self-motivated with the ability to work long hours in the field as well as on a computer.
    • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively and effectively with a wide array of people, such as research collaborators, partner groups/agencies, stakeholder groups, and individuals. 
    • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, such as an ability to synthesize information, focus quickly on the essence of an issue/problem, and propose a solution. 
    • Willingness and ability to represent and promote our projects, such as through public events, outreach to prospective partners and funders, and other opportunities as needed.
    • Willingness and ability to regularly travel to field sites and in-person meetings in the Central Valley.
    • Valid U.S. Driver’s License, favorable driving history, and proof of auto insurance. Point Blue will conduct a motor vehicle check as part of the hiring process.
    • Ability to obtain relevant certificates, permits, or licenses related to working with birds.

    Preferred but not required:

    • Experience capturing, handling, banding, bleeding, and radio-tagging birds, preferably shorebirds.
    • Deep knowledge of the Central Valley agroecosystem.
    • Strong knowledge of and experience with R, ArcGIS, git, cloud based-computing.
    • Experience with analysis of point count and other bird survey data, species distribution models, the analyses of spatial data (e.g., data manipulation, spatial analytics and focal statistics, prioritization).
    • Commitment to science communication and open science practices.
    • Experience with public speaking, such as presenting research at scientific conferences. 
    • Currently living in or willingness to relocate to the Central Valley.

    Work Environment and Physical Requirements: Job duties are approximately 25-30% fieldwork and 70-75% office work. The six-month shorebird capture window (November – April) as part of the current project, involves early mornings and working in flooded rice and wetlands in the dark across the Central Valley. The majority of time spent in the office involves sitting at a desk and operating a computer and performing other routine office tasks.

    Compensation and Benefits: Salary is based on qualifications and internal equity. Estimated salary range for this position is $72,245 - $88,000 annually. Point Blue provides a comprehensive benefit package including employer paid medical and dental for staff and 75% for dependents. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term care, long- and short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and retirement plans as well as time off benefits. 

    Mileage during field season will be reimbursed at the current federal mileage rate. This position will require regular travel (to field sites and meetings) and will involve working some weekends and evenings.

    To Apply: To apply, please visit: https://forms.gle/MpSEdgLURirCVj9P8.  If you encounter issues when applying, please email jobs@pointblue.org.   

    Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.

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