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Ornithology Exchange

    • Employer: Oregon State University
      Location: Newport, Oregon (Central Oregon Coast)
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/03/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes


    The Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project at Oregon State University is hiring one (1) Lead Aerial Telemetry Technician and one (1) Aerial Telemetry Technician from 4/27/20 to 8/14/20 (16 weeks, start and end date may be flexible, possibility of extension) to assist with a long-term, large-scale study of space use and nest success of the federally threatened Marbled Murrelet. This work is being conducted as part of the Forest Animal Ecology Lab at Oregon State University and is led by head PI, Dr. Jim Rivers.

    For the duration of the season (May-August), aerial technicians will alternate flight duties with fieldwork conducted as part of a larger ground-based crew. Flights are conducted in fixed-wing aircraft to relocate Marbled Murrelets over land and nearshore waters using radio telemetry techniques. Ground-based fieldwork will include use of radio telemetry, point counts, electronic audio and visual equipment and vegetation sampling to collect data on nesting and space use. One position will be designated as the lead aerial technician with additional leadership responsibilities. Crews will be stationed in shared field housing on the central Oregon coast. The field schedule will be variable and includes long days, very early mornings, and night work, with limited time off. Extensive driving is required on unimproved forest roads with active logging, as well as through paved but busy tourist towns. The use of CB radios is required and all safety training is provided. Field work occurs in all weather conditions. Wind, fog, rain, biting/stinging insects, and poison oak will be encountered on a regular basis. All personnel should expect to carry loads upwards of 50 lbs in steep, loose terrain. Physical fitness is necessary for safe transport of heavy and expensive equipment to off-trail forest locations; prior experience hiking and backpacking is an asset. Work will occur solo, in pairs, or in larger groups depending on the nature of the work. Some travel out of state may be required.  Compensation is a monthly salary based on experience, plus shared field housing and use of 4-wheel drive vehicles for work activities.   


    $550 - $750 per week based on experience

    Job Duties

    Field Work:

    - Conduct radio-telemetry from single engine aircraft to collect inland and at-sea murrelet locations. Flights last 2 – 8 hours and may occasionally require overnight stays in Washington or California.

    - Schedule flights with pilot with regard to challenging weather, flight times, and other project priorities

    - Effectively communicate aerial telemetry information to crew leads and research assistants so they may organize fieldwork in a timely manner

    - Conduct ground based VHF radio telemetry from established stations along coastal highways to obtain bearings of tagged birds in the nearshore marine environment

    - Search for tagged birds on nests in remote, mountainous, densely forested locations up to 80 km from coast 

    - Conduct dawn nest watches

    - Conduct point-counts for corvids using distance sampling methods

    - Collect observational data and vegetation data according to protocols

    - Set-up and maintain remote video cameras, audio recording devices, and/or stationary telemetry receivers

    - Regularly clean and maintain shared housing, vehicles, and gear

    - Maintain professional working relationships on the job and in shared housing

    - Navigate off-trail in backcountry areas using topo maps and GPS devices over challenging terrain with no cell phone service

    - Cut and maintain trails in densely-vegetated steep terrain

    - Transport heavy and expensive equipment (50 lbs. or more) over large distances (up to 5 miles) off trail in steep terrain

    - Conduct all work in accordance with the College of Forestry/OMMP safety requirements

    - Camp overnight (for up to several days) in remote locations

    - Drive long distances in traffic and on unimproved roads that require 4 wheel drive

    - Other duties as assigned

    - Keep track of individual bird movements to prioritize flight tasks/locations

    Data Management:

    - Collect data using a variety of electronic and paper-based methods

    - Enter and proof data according to protocols

    - Create maps in ESRI ArcGIS and Google Earth, and determine routes to access remote areas

    - Keep track of individual bird movements to prioritize flight tasks/locations

    Lead Technician Duties:

    - Supervise and manage one technician

    - Coordinate and communicate effectively with pilots, crew members, and supervisors verbally and in writing. This includes regularly responding to voicemails, texts, and emails throughout the season

    - Provide oversight and leadership on data collection methods

    - Conduct data quality assurance reviews and weekly data transfer to supervisors

    - Maintain positive and professional working relationships on the job and in shared housing

    - Ability to use sound judgement to make decisions under challenging field conditions

    - Attend and contribute to weekly planning meetings

    - Compile data summaries for daily or weekly reports

    - Other duties as assigned


    Minimum Qualifications:

    - Competitive Lead Technician applicants will have prior supervisory experience

    - Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology or a related field

    - Valid driver’s license and a clean driving record

    - Ability to work in the United States

    - 2 years or more of field experience (1 summer job or volunteer position = 1 year of experience)

    - Previous experience using radio telemetry

    - Basic bird identification skills

    - Computer skills including Microsoft Office and Google suite

    - Proven track record of working in a safe and efficient manner 

    - Ability to work well with a team and independently

    - Demonstrated ability to hike long distances over uneven, steep, challenging terrain

    - Ability to lift and carry 50lbs

    - Capable of working long hours and variable schedules, including nights and early mornings, in inclement weather with limited time off

    - Must be comfortable driving and camping in remote locations, without cell reception

    - Applicants must have normal vision and hearing

    - Applicants should be detail-oriented and have good time management

    - Ability to work in small aircraft for extended periods without getting motion sickness

    Preferred Qualifications:

    - Experience working in small aircraft

    - Experience working in forested and/or mountainous locations

    - Experience conducting marbled murrelet inland surveys

    - Intermediate to Advanced Bird Identification skills, particularly with Western U.S. forest species

    - Familiarity maintaining/troubleshooting remote camera systems and audio recording units used for wildlife research, and working with video and audio data files

    - Ability to read maps, orienteer, use hand-held GPS devices, and hike alone in the backcountry

    - Ability to interact positively with the public while undertaking research 

    - 4-wheel drive experience

    - Previous experience working in backcountry as part of a research project or trail building crew

    To Apply

    Applicants should create a single PDF file that contains:

    (1) a cover letter specifically addressing your interest in the position and your qualifications as they relate to the duties and qualifications described in this announcement;

    (2) a full-length resume or CV

    (3) the names and contact information (email and telephone) of three references who may be contacted.

    Email this document to osumamujobs@gmail.com with “MAMU AERIAL TECHNICIAN Application 2020” in the subject line. Questions may be addressed to the same email. Positions will be filled on rolling basis, so it is best to apply early. Indicate clearly in your Cover Letter whether you want to be considered for only Aerial Lead, only Aerial Technician, or both. Send separate applications if applying for ground-based Crew Lead or Field Technician position as well.

    Contact Person

    Jon Dachenhaus and Ethan Woodis

    Contact Email




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