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  • Black-backed Woodpecker Survey Technician

    Guest Bob Wilkerson
    • Employer: The Institute for Bird Populations
      Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    We have up to 4 openings for experienced point counters during spring/summer 2022 on our Sierra Nevada Black-backed Woodpecker Monitoring project.

    PROJECT DATES (tentative): Mid May – Mid July (tentative).

    TRAINING: The field season will begin with a training session in project protocols for conducting multi-species point counts, using playback-surveys to detect Black-backed Woodpeckers, and conducting habitat assessments. Surveyors are required to already be able to identify Sierra birds by sight and sound; applicants with previous point count experience will be strongly preferred. 

    RESPONSIBILITIES: Working in a team of two, biologists will visit and survey recently burned forest sites on Forest Service lands throughout the Sierra Nevada. On a typical day, surveyors will wake up before dawn and spend the morning conducting woodpecker surveys, multi-species 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:  We are looking for candidates with prior birding experience and familiarity with the songs and calls of western montane birds. Prior point count experience is mandatory. Other requirements include a sense of humor, a love of adventure, a desire to learn more about Black-backed Woodpecker natural history and fire ecology, and an appreciation for recently burned montane landscapes. Crew members will be camping most nights in front-country campgrounds or in the backcountry on the occasional back-country trip. 

    Survey work will be distributed across the entire Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades in California, requiring substantial car travel and willingness to lead a nomadic life for a few months. A willingness to face the rigors of fieldwork with good humor is important. These rigors include (but are not limited to!) physically demanding work, long work days that may begin well before dawn, wet, cold weather, mosquitos, 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).

    EQUIPMENT: Biologists are expected to provide their own binoculars and camping/backpacking gear, including hiking boots, tent, sleeping bag, raingear, etc.

    COMPENSATION: Surveyors will be considered seasonal IBP staff, and will receive payment of $2,900 per month (before payroll taxes) and project-related travel mileage reimbursement, but no fringe benefits. In addition, campground fees will be reimbursed.

    MORE INFORMATION: For more information about this IBP program, please see our Black-backed Woodpecker Webpage.

    TO APPLY: Please email a resume, cover letter, and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of two references to Bob Wilkerson, Biologist at: bwilkerson 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 will be required for all 2022 field crew members.

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