Jump to content
Ornithology Exchange
  • Avian Field Technicians for Nest Searching and Point Counts - New Mexico

    M Whitfield
    • Employer: Southern Sierra Research Station
      Location:  Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area in northwest New Mexico, and El Malpais Conservation Area, in western New Mexico
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/09/2022
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Dates of Employment: Starting dates: March 9 and April 11. End dates: July 31, and August 15.  

    Salary:  $2,200-$2,700/month for field technicians, and $2,700-$3,000 for crew leaders. Housing and field vehicles are provided. 

    Application deadline: Application review is ongoing and will continue until the positions are filled. 

    Number of Openings: 9 

    Job Description: The Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is looking for seven field technicians and two crew leaders to conduct nest searches, point-counts, and Pinyon Jay surveys in pinyon-juniper (P-J) woodlands. Five days a week, technicians and the crew leaders will search for nests of target species and monitor located nests at regular intervals to assess survival, productivity, and detect re-nest attempts. Songbird point-counts and pinyon jay surveys will be conducted within the study sites approximately once per month. Daily, staff will record field data on android tablets, sync the collected data with the online database once they return to the field house, and then proof (QA/QC) the collected data. Vegetation surveys will be conducted at nest and random locations after the nests have fledged and the birds dispersed. Qualified staff with previous pinyon-juniper (P-J) bird survey experience will also conduct point-count surveys for all birds present. The primary nest-searching species include: Pinyon Jays, Juniper Titmouse, Gray Vireo, Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow and Western Bluebird. Nesting and breeding data on additional P-J bird species may also be collected to ensure that the study generates an adequate sample size for data analysis. 

    One crew will conduct field work in the Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area in northwest New Mexico (near San Luis and Cuba, NM), and the second crew in/around the El Malpais Conservation Area south of Grants, NM. Elevation ranges from 6500 to 8000 feet and encompasses a habitat gradient of savanna up to persistent P-J woodland. Surveys will start at or before dawn. Across the field season the variable weather (rainy, cloudy, and sunny) and temperatures (cool mornings to hot afternoons) are expected. The surveys will require off-road, off-trail navigation using maps, compass, aerial images, and gps units. Shared housing and field vehicles will be provided. 

    We aim to hire two crews, each with a crew leader and a field technician starting in March. The remaining field technicians will start in April. One crew is anticipated to complete bird and habitat surveys by July 31, the other crew by August 15. 

    Covid-19 Precautions: While this work will be conducted in relatively remote areas where potential exposure to the virus should be minimal, field staff will follow SSRS and NM state Covid safety protocols. It is the policy of SSRS that all employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 and are keeping up with all current CDC guidelines (boosters, masking protocols, etc). Proof of vaccination will be required when reporting to work.  

    Required Qualifications

    • Patience and persistent observation needed to follow individual birds and carefully locate nests are essential. Training for all nest-searching and survey protocols will be provided, but prior bird identification skills are required. 
    • Applicants with prior nest searching experience and/or experience with pinyon-juniper birds will be given preference. 
    • All field staff will search for and monitor nests, but technicians also interested in conducting point-count surveys must be able to identify pinyon-juniper associated birds, by sight and sound. 
    • Familiarity with western flora, a valid driver's license, and attention to detail is a must. 
    • Applicants must be comfortable using electronic devices (gps units, tablets) to navigate and collect data, and be responsible to ensure the devices are charged every night. 
    • Applicants must be in good physical condition, as long hours in the field will be required in sometimes difficult terrain. Applicants must be confident working and navigating in a remote wooded area. 
    • The applicant is expected to work well as a team member, and independently, to accomplish project tasks on schedule. 
    • Must be a U.S. citizen or possess a valid U.S. work visa 


    To Apply: Applicants should email a single file (word or pdf) which includes 1) a cover letter stating their interest in the position and dates of availability, 2) a resume, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of three references to: Annie Meyer at the following email address: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com. Include your name and "NM PJ Birds" in the file name of your attachment (e.g. Darwin_C_NM PJ Birds.doc) and in your email subject line. The Southern Sierra Research Station (www.southernsierraresearch.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • If the resources provided by the Ornithology Exchange are valuable to you,  please consider making a donation to support the OE,  through the Ornithology Council's PayPal Link. Thank you for your support!

  • Create New...