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  • Avian Field Technician

    • Employer: West Virginia University
      Location: Allegheny National Forest, Irvine, PA
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 04/30/2020
      Open Until Filled: No

    Dates: Flexible, but expected to start July 15th and end by October 31st.

    Salary: $1600/month; field housing and work vehicle provided.


    Project Description: Seeking a highly motivated field technician to assist with mist netting, insect trapping, fruit surveys, and vegetation surveys approximately July 15th to October 31st. The technician will participate in a project assessing the impacts of spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, SWD), a nonnative invasive insect pest of fruiting plants, on forest bird communities. SWD causes extensive damage to vital fruit resources, which could have dramatic consequences for fruit-consuming wildlife, especially frugivorous birds.

    Field work will be conducted at Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwestern Pennsylvania. Daily work will consist of early mornings and require extensive walking on hot summer days with little cover through dense, difficult-to-traverse vegetation. The ideal applicant will need to be physically fit, able to work long days, flexible with day-to-day tasks, and comfortable working both with others and independently. While the applicant will work closely with the grad student leading the project, they will need to run nets, extract birds, and band birds without supervision. The ideal applicant will also bring a positive attitude, a hard work ethic, and enthusiasm for avian ecology research. In addition to early and long days, the applicant can expect to work an irregular work week, 5 days per week (including at least some weekends), with days off for inclement weather. Housing and field vehicle will be on-site and provided through the project, though cell service and internet might be limited.


    Primary Duties:

    ·      Set up mist-nets, conduct net runs, and extract birds safely and quickly

    ·      Band, age, and sex birds, and collect multiple morphological measurements

    ·      Conduct fruiting plant surveys following mist-netting

    ·      Prepare, erect, and collect fruit fly traps

    ·      Conduct vegetation surveys simultaneous with fruit surveys

    ·      Additional Duties may include data entry and data proofing, processing fruit samples for parasitism by SWD, and sorting adult fly samples from fly traps



    ·      Previous experience mist netting, banding, and ageing/sexing birds

    ·      Ability to identify eastern U.S. bird species (especially during migration)

    ·      Possess a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife science, ecology, natural resources, or a similar field

    ·      Comfortable working in a remote outdoor setting

    ·      Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record

    ·      Northeastern fruiting plant species ID skills and experience with taking bird measurements are also highly desirable.


    To apply, please email 1) a cover letter outlining relevant work experiences with mist netting passerines in forest ecosystems, 2) resume/CV, and 3) contact information for 3 references to Dan Roche at dpr0008@mix.wvu.edu. Applications will be reviewed as received.

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