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  • Avian Point-Count Technicians in Southwestern National Parks

    • Employer: The Institute for Bird Populations
      Location: Southwestern National Parks (Four Corners region)
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 04/01/2022
      Open Until Filled: Yes



    Avian Point-Count Technicians in Southwestern National Parks


    Spend your summer doing field work in the beautiful national parks of the southern Colorado Plateau! We are looking for volunteer field technicians to conduct breeding bird point-count surveys as part of a long-term monitoring plan for the National Parks.


    PROJECT DATES (tentative) : Early April – late June 2022


    TRAINING: The field season will begin with a three-week intensive training period focusing on field safety and implementation of unlimited-radius point counts with distance sampling. Field crews should have a good knowledge of the songs and calls of southwestern birds before the training period begins.


    RESPONSIBILITIES: Primary duties will involve conducting point count surveys on National Park Service land, including Grand Canyon NP, Mesa Verde NP, Petrified Forest NP, and Bandelier NM. Habitat types surveyed will range from desert scrub to montane conifer forest. On a typical day, surveyors will wake up before dawn and spend the morning conducting multi-species distance surveys (point counts) and rapid vegetation surveys at each survey site. The afternoon will then typically be spent traveling to, and scoping out, the next day’s surveys sites. Work will be physically demanding, sometimes involving several-mile hikes into survey sites and the occasional short (1-4 day) backpacking trips to access survey sites far from roads. Off-trail travel will be required at many survey sites. The typical work schedule will be 7-days on followed by 3-days off.


    REQUIREMENTS: Previous ecological fieldwork in rugged environments, prior birding experience, and/or familiarity with the songs and calls of southwestern birds are strongly preferred. Other requirements include a sense of humor, a love of adventure, and a desire to learn more about avian natural history and the ecology of the Four Corners region. Survey work will be distributed across national parks in three states (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado) on the Colorado Plateau, requiring substantial car travel and willingness to lead a nomadic life for a few months. Technicians will be based out of the Flagstaff, Arizona area. A willingness to face the rigors of fieldwork with good humor is important. These rigors include physically demanding work traversing steep topography, long workdays that may begin well before dawn, both cold and hot weather, venomous snakes, occasional contact with bears, and less-than-glamorous housing. Successful candidates must be in excellent physical condition and must be comfortable with off-trail hiking and orienteering (training provided). A personal vehicle is highly desirable but not strictly required.


    SCHEDULE: Typically 7 days on and 3 off.


    EQUIPMENT: Volunteer technicians are expected to provide their own binoculars, hiking boots and camping gear for car camping (tent, sleeping bag, raingear, etc.). 


    COMPENSATION: These are volunteer positions. Compensation includes the valuable skills you will develop, the satisfaction of joining important conservation efforts, and the joy of working with fun-loving people in the mountains. We will provide training, shared housing, and a per diem of $50 (amounts to approximately $1250 per month) to help with food and general living expenses.


    TO APPLY: Please email a resume, cover letter, and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of three references to Mandy Holmgren, Biologist, at: mholmgren AT birdpop DOT org.

    IBP values diversity and encourages people from all backgrounds to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.


    Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.

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