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  • Acorn Woodpecker intern

    Eric L Walters
    • Employer: Old Dominion University
      Location: Carmel Valley, California
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 07/20/2022
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    One field assistant 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 over 54 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 acorn storing behavior, and observing roosting behavior. Interns will also assist in woodpecker capture and banding. The experience is designed to be one of total immersion, six days per week, and provides a unique opportunity for those interested in applying to graduate school.

    COMPENSATION: $700 USD per month and on-site shared housing

    DURATION: 15 August 2022 to 31 March 2023 (7..5 months)

    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. Some portions of field work require the ability to drive an off-road vehicle or truck. Therefore, having a valid US Driver’s License is 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, or cold weather when it is damp and miserable), and an ability to tackle the rigors of field work are a must. We especially encourage applicants who plan to attend graduate school in the near future and are interested in potentially 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.

    LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: We believe it is important to acknowledge that the study takes place on the traditional, ancestral land of the Esselen peoples past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations.


    Interested applicants should submit a single document (either PDF or Word document) containing a cover letter that describes why you are well suited to this position, what your motivations for applying are, and what your future goals are; a CV / resume; and the names/affiliations of three (3) academic/professional references to Dr. Eric Walters acwointern@ericlwalters.org. More information on the project can be found at the Walters Lab website: www.ericlwalters.org/employment.htm

    INCLUSIVITY: We are committed to creating an inclusive work environment and promoting diversity in the field of behavioral ecology. People of all races, religions, gender identities/expressions, and sexual orientations will be welcomed and valued.

    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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