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  • Aerial Insectivore Field Biologist

    Guest Natasha Barlow
    • Employer: Birds Canada
      Location: Port Rowan, Ontario
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: 02/17/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    The Aerial Insectivore Program team at Birds Canada is currently seeking one highly-motivated Field Biologist to take a leadership role in the delivery of stewardship, research, and monitoring activities for several aerial insectivore species at risk in southern Ontario, including Eastern Whip-poor-will and Bank Swallow. Anticipated start date in mid-May 2023, with a contract duration of ~4 months.

    Location: position based in Port Rowan, Ontario, with field work around the Norfolk area and sites on the north shore of Lake Erie. Shared housing provided, likely situated at Long Point Bird Observatory’s Old Cut Research Station for duration of field season.

    Position Concept

    The Aerial Insectivore Field Biologist will report to the Ontario Projects Biologist, and will assist with all aspects of the program. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: capturing and tagging Eastern Whip-poor-wills and Bank Swallows, night-time telemetry and surveys, insect sampling, boat surveys, burrow counts, collecting biological samples, data collection and entry, implementing recovery activities, public outreach, and landowner liaison. The Field Biologist must be comfortable engaging the public and working to advance stewardship with landowners. The Field Biologist must be capable of carrying equipment, working near shoreline bluffs in areas with poison ivy, and be comfortable with working as a team at night in possibly buggy conditions. The Field Biologist must also be comfortable spending long days outdoors in hot weather.


    Although not required, most candidates will be in the process of, or have already completed, an M.Sc. in biology or ecology or an equivalent wildlife-related program. Relevant experience or other informal and formal education/training are equally considered.

    Qualifications and Skills:

    • Good knowledge of southern Ontario birds, particularly aerial insectivores, including their biology and conservation issues 
    • Able to identify aerial insectivore species (specifically Eastern Whip-poor-will and Bank Swallow) by sight and sound 
    • High level of organization, initiative, and record keeping 
    • Desire to work with private landowners and the public to promote voluntary stewardship activities
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills
    • Able to work in a team and independently with little supervision, sometimes in remote locations
    • 1+ field seasons of proven ability to manage a field crew
    • Valid driver’s license (G preferred, G2 accepted)
    • Valid First Aid Certification or able to obtain certification prior to start date
    • Legally entitled to work in Canada (if applicable, successful applicants must provide a copy of their work visa and temporary SIN prior to commencing work)


    • Experience with mist-netting and banding (previously or currently permitted for banding and attaching radio transmitters on Eastern Whip-poor-wills is ideal)
    • Experience with telemetry 
    • Insect identification, particularly with nocturnal moths
    • Stewardship or outreach experience, particularly related to species at risk
    • Data management
    • Meet Canada Summer Jobs requirements

    Duties will include:

    • Obtaining permission to survey sites via communicating with landowners/volunteers/public
    • Extensive field work:
      • mist-netting, capturing, and banding Eastern Whip-poor-wills and Bank Swallows
      • day and night-time telemetry to determine habitat selection of Eastern Whip-poor-will
      • insect sampling in sites occupied by Eastern Whip-poor-will
      • collecting biological samples (blood, fecal, and/or feather samples)
      • fitting Eastern Whip-poor-wills and Bank Swallows with radio transmitters
      • boat surveys and burrow counts for population monitoring of Bank Swallows
    • Lead a field crew of 1-2 field technicians
    • Entering and organizing data, and maintaining databases
    • Leading the development of technical reports for the season, and possibly assisting with publications
    • Ongoing landowner stewardship
    • Other tasks, as required

    Salary: $19-21/h, depending on project-relevant experience and expertise, for approximately 40h work week, plus statutory benefits, annual $150 allowance for sun safety clothing/items, and predetermined accommodations specific to contract needs (primarily at Old Cut Research Station). We encourage all candidates with the required qualifications and skills to apply to the position(s). However, note that some preference may be given to those who meet Canada Summer Jobs’ eligibility criteria.

    Application Deadline: 11:59 pm EST, February 17, 2023

    To Apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, and two reference contacts in a single document to Natasha Barlow (nbarlow@birdscanada.org; Ontario Projects Biologist). In your cover letter, please explicitly highlight relevant qualifications and skills, and indicate if you meet the Canada Summer Jobs’ eligibility criteria. While Birds Canada welcomes all applications, only those applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted. Birds Canada will provide accommodations throughout the recruitment, selection, and/or assessment process to applicants with disabilities.

    Please note: applications will be reviewed as they are received, and some positions may be filled prior to the deadline. Early applications encouraged.

    Birds Canada is committed to improving levels of diversity among its volunteers, membership, staff, and board that reflects the diversity of communities across the country. In an effort to do so, we are actively tracking and seeking to improve our ability to reach all candidates with our job postings. Applicants belonging to racialized groups, who identify as Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+, or who have differing abilities are therefore welcome to self-identify in their cover letter, if they feel comfortable, although this is not a requirement.

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