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Audubon Florida seeks a Shorebird Biologist to support beach-nesting season and nonbreeding season bird conservation work in the Eastern Florida Panhandle. The Shorebird Biologist will work remotely in the Panama City region of Bay and Gulf counties and travel to complete the majority of work on and around beaches and islands including Tyndall Critical Wildlife Area, islands and beaches and adjacent to or within Tyndall Air Force Base, Eglin Cape San Blas, and other sites as assigned.
From February to August, or later if nesting activity continues (“breeding season”), the Shorebird Biologist will be responsible for performing independent beach-nesting bird monitoring and protection work primarily in Bay and Gulf counties, 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;
- Monitoring nonbreeding Piping, Snowy, and 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 resightings 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”), s/he will be responsible for completing biweekly winter coastal bird surveys and banded bird resightings focusing on Red Knot, Piping Plover, and Snowy Plover, primarily in Bay and Gulf counties, 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.
This is a year round full-time, grant-funded opportunity through December 31 2020 with potential to extend beyond should additional funding be secured.
By closely collaborating with the Eastern Panhandle Shorebird Project Manager, the Shorebird Biologist will ensure all sites are:
- Posting symbolic fencing as required or immediately when new nest sites are located;
- Monitored weekly, at a minimum, 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.
- 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 and other duties as assigned.
- Decision-making with regard to the need for disturbance minimization through predation management, data collection using game cameras or other technology, alteration of posted nest-site boundaries, removal of posting materials and field equipment in advance of severe storm warnings, management and reporting on bird mortalities, and implementation of disturbance minimization 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.
- Contributing to technical report writing as needed and submitting content for program-related publications in a variety of media.
- Overseeing the maintenance needs of assigned program vehicles, trailers, boats and ATV/UTVs.
- Mentoring and managing volunteers in monitoring, surveying and stewardship activities.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor's degree in biology, wildlife ecology or related field required; Master's degree substitutes for one year 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 is required.
- Demonstrated experience operating and maintaining motorboats with trailer launch in challenging nearshore marine conditions or equivalent experience in freshwater environments is a plus.
- Kayak paddling experience in nearshore marine or open-water conditions is required.
- 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.
- Superior communication skills and demonstrated ability to work independently and with multiple stakeholder groups.
- Excellent judgment, problem-solving skills, and decision-making skills, one who possesses a high degree of integrity in all deliverables.
- Demonstrated experience working with external partners and volunteers, as well as operating and maintaining equipment including boats, ATV/UTVs, trucks and/or trailers.
- Must be able to lift up to 35lbs, and be able to walk up to 5 miles on beach carrying spotting scope, binoculars, and daypack.
- Demonstrated experience with performing fieldwork 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.
- A genuine passion for conservation and for the mission of the National Audubon Society a must.