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  • Grassland Bird Field Biologist (1-2 positions)

    • Employer: Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario
      Location: Grey County, Ontario
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario (BECO) is seeking 1 to 2 highly motivated and experienced field biologists to assist with monitoring nesting grassland birds in agricultural landscapes. BECO is a non-profit organization that uses ecological research to advance the conservation of birds in Ontario. This project is focused on monitoring nesting grasshopper sparrows, but may also involve monitoring other grassland bird species (i.e., bobolink, eastern meadowlark, Savannah sparrow).

    Start date: 01 May 2023
    Position duration: 4 to 8 months, depending on funding and experience

    Tasks and responsibilities:

    • Bird surveys (e.g., point counts, transect surveys) in agricultural landscapes
    • Searching for and monitoring grasshopper sparrow and other grassland bird nests
    • Spot mapping and behavioural observations
    • Vegetation data collection
    • Data entry and management using Microsoft Access and QGIS
    • Communicating with landowners and the general public
    • Assisting with other field work and project tasks, as required
    • Contracts extending beyond the field season will involve additional tasks such as proofing, summarizing, and analyzing data, and writing reports


    • Strong interest in avian ecology and wildlife conservation
    • Excellent auditory and visual bird identification skills and familiarity with grassland bird species in southern Ontario
    • Experience searching for and monitoring bird nests; preference will be given to candidates who have experience searching for cryptic nests in grasslands (grasshopper sparrow nests can be particularly challenging to find)
    • Experience navigating in the field using a handheld GPS unit and familiarity with GIS software
    • Keen attention to detail and strong organizational and record keeping abilities
    • Self-motivated and dependable, with a strong work ethic, a strong interest in fieldwork, and a sense of personal responsibility
    • Able to work independently and in a team environment, as well as flexibility to adapt to a changing work schedule
    • Comfortable working early mornings and in field conditions that can be physically demanding and challenging (several hours of walking each day, variable weather, biting insects). Additionally, a significant amount of patience is required for nest searching.
    • Comfortable working on farms and around farm animals (e.g., cattle, farm dogs) and the ability to work in environments with significant amounts of grass pollen
    • Valid driver’s licence, good driving record, and access to own vehicle with valid insurance

    Preference will be given to candidates who have (1) significant nest searching experience, and (2) completed post-secondary education in wildlife ecology or a related discipline. Additionally, candidates should have good interpersonal skills and the ability to foster and maintain good relationships with landowners. First aid certification is also an asset.

    Field sites will be located in Grey County, Ontario and the surrounding area. Accommodation near the town of Durham will be provided for the duration of the field season (01 May to ~mid-August). Accommodation will likely be shared and may be basic (e.g., a rustic cabin on a farm with an outhouse or composting toilet and few amenities). Applicants should have access to their own vehicle for the duration of the position. A significant amount of driving will be required to travel to field sites (e.g., field sites may be 20 to 40 minutes from housing and driving to multiple field sites in a day may be required). Mileage will be reimbursed.

    From about mid-May until the end of July, staff will be expected to work 6 days per week. Overtime will be compensated with paid time off in lieu or overtime pay, as required by provincial regulations and funding sources. For contracts extending beyond the field season, candidates must have access to their own accommodation and the ability to work from home on tasks such as data proofing, data analysis, and report writing. Candidates who have experience with data analysis using R and writing technical reports, in addition to the qualifications listed above, are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Eligibility: These positions may be partially funded by federal funding for youth employment. Please note in your application if you meet the following criteria:

    • No more than 30 years of age at the start of employment
    • Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person granted refugee status in Canada

    Candidates who do not meet the federal youth employment funding criteria are still encouraged to apply as additional short-term field opportunities may become available. All applicants must be legally eligible to work in Canada with a valid Social Insurance Number.

    Compensation: $3,000 - $3,200 per month, depending on experience and funding. Field housing provided during the field season (May through mid-August).

    To apply, send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to Zoé Lebrun-Southcott (zoe@beco-birds.org). In your cover letter, indicate how you meet the listed qualifications, if you have access to a personal vehicle for the field season, if you meet the eligibility criteria for federal youth employment funding, and your dates of availability. Submit your application as a single PDF or MS Word file. We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

    Position(s) will be filled as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

    Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome applications from people of all abilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

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