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  • Avian Field Technician: Montana and Northern Idaho

    • Employer: Intermountain Bird Observatory, Boise State University
      Location: Montana
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 02/15/2024
      Open Until Filled: Yes



    The Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) at Boise State University is hiring several 2024 seasonal Avian Field Technicians to contribute to a large-scale study of breeding bird ecology across Montana and northern Idaho. Primary responsibilities include conducting Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) point count surveys, vegetation assessments, and data entry. Successful applicants should expect to attend an in-person training session starting May 20th  and will be expected to perform their duties at a professional quality and rate of completion until July 15th. Successful applicants may have the opportunity to extend employment, based on post-season project needs, applicant desire, and performance. 

    Compensation is $18.00–19.50/hr, based on experience, 40hrs/wk for the duration of the season. Weekly work schedules are flexible, largely determinant on survey completion rate and weather – please note that this position is FLSA exempt – applicant should expect to travel to and between work locations, with overnight stays that will frequently involve camping. 

    Technicians will have the opportunity to observe a suite of interesting bird species, work in proximity to charismatic megafauna, and travel to beautiful and historic locations significant to the American west, e.g., areas in or adjacent Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Surveys are in a wide variety of habitats that occur in the region, including grasslands, coniferous forests, and alpine ecosystems. Surveys do occur on both public and private lands. 

    Technicians will have the option to use either a personal 4WD vehicle or be provided with a 4WD rental vehicle at the start of the season. Personal vehicles must be able to handle variable road conditions characteristic of the region, e.g., muddy, and rocky terrain. Applicant must have a safe driving record for rental vehicle use. All work-related mileage incurred in execution of responsibilities using a personal vehicle will be reimbursed at the current federal mileage rate. All other work-related expenses, e.g., rental car fuel, incurred in execution of responsibilities will be fully paid for upfront by IBO. 

    Competitive applicants will have many of the following characteristics: 

    •  Ability to identify bird species by sight and sound. 
    • Familiarity with western and/or central flyway bird species, across various ecosystems. 
    • Experience with conducting avian points counts, distance sampling and/or research.
    • Knowledge of western woody plant species and western plant communities.
    • Competence with vehicular travel on highway, agricultural and forest road systems.
    • Physical capability to hike an average of 6 miles a day, carrying essential gear and water.
    • Practice hiking off-trail in remote, densely vegetated, steep and/or rugged landscapes.
    • Willingness to work independently in remote areas for durations up to several days.
    • Ability to cohesively work in a two-member team dynamic, with minimal conflict.
    • Familiarity working around inclement weather, including rain, snow, wind, and heat.
    • Comfort working within landscapes where large mammals (moose, bear, elk, lion, bison), venomous snakes and biting insects may occur.
    • Affinity for vehicle-based and backcountry camping, at developed and primitive sites.
    • Skill navigating with GPS, topographic maps, and cell-phone travel apps.
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal.
    • Efficacy and respectfulness working with program managers, co-workers, and the public.
    • Flexibility working in and out of cell signal while maintaining electronics, technological capability, and professional-level communication, coordination, and research etiquette.
    • Proven acumen for data collection, timely data entry, and careful data management.
    • Competency following instructions, and adaptability resolving challenging situations.
    • Proven adherence to field safety protocols and use of good judgment in the field.
    • Willingness and eagerness to learn, maintain a good attitude and overcome challenges.

    Applicants must possess: 

    • Valid driver's license.
    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • Clean driving record (for rental car use).
    • Suitable binoculars (ideally 8x or 10x42 magnification minimum).
    • Hiking, camping, and backpacking gear (including gear for rain, cold, potable water etc.).
    • Working laptop for data entry.

    IBO will provide pertinent training, survey equipment, and safety gear (e.g., inReach satellite communication safety device, bear spray, first-aid kit, tire repair kit, tow strap) to technicians at the beginning of the season, before beginning fieldwork.

    Applicants: please submit to this IMBCR Avian Technician Application Form a single PDF that includes a one-page cover letter briefly describing your interest in this position and summarizing your qualifications, and a resume or CV with 3 references.

    Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.   

    *Please note that IBO is currently hiring for several projects occurring before, after and during this advertised field season, including IMBCR positions occurring simultaneously in southern Idaho and Utah (UT beginning in early May). Please voice interest within your application if you would like more information or to be considered for any other positions with IBO. 


    At Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO), we work to impact human lives and significantly contribute to bird conservation through a unique combination of cooperative research, education, discovery of the natural world, and community engagement.

    We at IBO strongly encourage those interested to contribute to other IBO projects throughout your time with us. IBO research projects include MAPS songbird banding, surveys for Pinyon Jays, woodpeckers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, shorebirds, Cassia crossbill and high-elevation bird communities. Please visit our website to learn more about our organization and the projects we work on! 


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