The King Rail (Rallus elegans) is a migratory species of secretive marsh bird (rails, bitterns, grebes, gallinules) and is listed as endangered or threatened in 12 U.S. states, including Missouri. The King Rail is Missouri’s only breeding species of rail; other rail species pass through during migration, but only the King Rail regularly stays to breed. King Rails are uncommon in Missouri, however, recent sightings and changes in wetland habitat conditions at some public sites justify new survey efforts to determine King Rail distribution in Missouri. If viable, sustainable populations are found to occur in Missouri, management strategies should be compiled in cooperation with local land managers to support King Rail populations. With a more comprehensive understanding of King Rail habitat associations, we can identify suitable King Rail habitat distribution throughout Missouri. Identifying suitable habitat throughout the region can provide resource managers with critical areas to prioritize for management actions or restoration that could benefit King Rail populations. Additionally, once the current distribution of King Rails and suitable habitat are identified, future monitoring can be targeted to those areas to track population trends through time. Identifying suitable habitat could also focus future King Rail research in suitable study sites to address further knowledge gaps. Hence, identifying the key characteristics of King Rail habitat in Missouri is a priority for their conservation in the state.
We are seeking two spring/summer field technicians to conduct King Rail surveys in Missouri. The selected candidates will conduct call-broadcast surveys at randomized points in selected wetlands. Each point will be surveyed up to 9 times. Although the primary focus of this project is to identify King Rail habitat and breeding range, we will also be playing callback for other secretive marsh birds in this area. Habitat surveys will also be conducted at the survey locations. The start date for this position is approximately April 15th and will go into late June. This position will include housing but camping may be required at certain survey sites.
- 14.20 Hourly at ~40 hours a week, hours may be somewhat irregular.
- Shared housing.
Required – Applicants must have a strong work ethic and experience meticulously collecting data in often undesirable conditions. Applicants must be comfortable working in both a team setting, as well as individually. Technicians will live in shared housing so the ability to get along with others is a must. Above all we are looking for someone passionate about conservation science, who is willing to learn new skills and techniques.
Preferred – Experience in habitat surveys, particularly wetland surveys. Experience in wetland plant identification. Experience in eastern bird identification by sound. Willingness to work in the late evening and early morning at often irregular hours.
Applications will be reviewed continually and filled as needed. To apply send an email with all materials in a single PDF document to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “King Rail Tech”. Materials should include a cover letter outlining the applicant’s interest and qualifications, a CV and contact information for three references.