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  • Lead Bander for Fall Migration in Southern Utah

    Kyle Kittelberger
    • Employer: University of Utah
      Location: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa near Moab, Utah
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 08/15/2024
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Dates: ~August 17th – November 9th

    Where: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa, Moab, Utah

    Work Schedule: ~7 hours/day, 10 days on 2 days off

    Salary: $4000

    We're looking for an experienced lead bird bander to head up a team with two to three assistants. You will be working at the Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa near Moab, Utah. This beautiful canyonland riparian habitat provides critical resources to migratory birds, amidst the desert of the Colorado Plateau. The station has banded over 21,000 birds so far of 135 species, including Yellow-breasted Chat, Willow Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Wren, Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush Sparrow, Gray Vireo, and much more.

    The position runs from approximately August 17th through the first week of November, encompassing the entirety of fall bird migration. You will be paid $4000, with the potential to earn extra on the side working with the site manager. The banding team is required to work 10 days on and 2 days off. Nets are opened from a half hour before dawn for six hours a day, conditions permitting. In addition to the banding you will be responsible for providing training and guidance for the volunteers, tours to visiting educational groups, entering and proofing all of the data, and writing weekly banding reports. In your free time you can explore the fantastic Red Rock Country of southern Utah, go rafting on the Dolores River, etc.

    Desired experience:

    The bander MUST have experience with banding, ageing and sexing volumes of birds, being proficient with assessing molt in birds and using WRP codes, and taking pictures in-hand of birds (i.e. wing shots); familiarity with western species and skulling (since it is the fall) are desired too. Ideally, the applicant has already banded around 1000 birds and has plenty of experience extracting birds of varying degrees of difficulty in the net; while prior experience with leading a season is a plus, it is not required (but for people that have not previously led a season, lengthy experience with banding will be expected). The bander should be comfortable running nets in temperatures characteristic of southern Utah from mid-August to November. Additionally, this site has two Motus stations- experience and comfortability with fitting Motus NanoTags on birds is a major strength and a skillset we are actively seeking, as we will be tagging birds this fall for the Motus project while banding (training will be provided though).

    Additionally, the bander must be able to lead their team and train the assistants in these practices, as well as work and live well with the same small number of people for an entire season. They should be able to talk confidently to visitors about the process of banding and why it is important. Enthusiasm is a must! Comfortability operating in a remote (but well-equipped) field station setting with no cell service (but good wifi) and a 1.5 hour distance from the closest town are also key.


    If interested, please email your interest and experience plus a resume to kyle.kittelberger@utah.edu.


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