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  • Acorn Woodpecker Field Assistant (Updated)

    Russell Winter
    • Employer: Walters Lab, Old Dominion University
      Location: Carmel Valley, California
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 06/27/2019
      Open Until Filled: No

    Description: Two (2) field assistants are needed for ongoing long-term studies of the behavioral ecology of the cooperatively breeding Acorn Woodpecker at the Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel Valley, California. We have studied the behavioral ecology of color-banded Acorn Woodpeckers for 50 years at this site, making this one of the longest running vertebrate studies in the world. The research focuses on both ecological and evolutionary factors involved in the evolution of cooperative breeding, and includes using automated radio-telemetry techniques to track cryptic movement.

    Assistants will participate in monitoring group composition via color-band resighting, documenting feeding (for any nests) and roosting behavior, and assist in woodpecker capture and experimental manipulations. Some portions of field work may require the ability to drive an off road vehicle or truck. The experience is designed to be one of total immersion, six days per week, and provides the necessary training needed for those interested in applying to graduate school.


    Compensation: $600/month and on-site shared housing.


    Duration: 15 August 2019 to 01 April 2020.


    Qualifications: This job requires frequent strenuous physical activity; applicants must be avid hikers who are comfortable hiking up and down hills with equipment such as spotting scopes and blinds. Prior experience with birds (especially the ability to read color bands) is desirable but not required. Self-motivation, enthusiasm for the research questions, a willingness to sit in a blind for up to 3 hours per session (in hot weather with lots of annoying face flies), and an ability to tackle the rigors of field work are a must. We especially encourage those applicants that plan to attend graduate school in the near future and who are interested in conducting an independent study during their tenure at Hastings. The reserve is remote (about an hour from the nearest town), and therefore a good attitude towards shared field housing situations is necessary, and having a vehicle is highly desirable.


    Interested applicants should submit a CV with an appropriate cover letter and the names/affiliations of three academic references to Russell Winter (rwint001@odu.edu). More information on the project can be found at www.ericlwalters.org


    PLEASE NOTE: Field assistant positions are only available to citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. No exceptions can be made.

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