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  • McCown's Longspur Field Technician

    Amber Swicegood
    • Employer: Montana State University
      Location: Phillips and Valley Counties, Montana
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/20/2020
      Open Until Filled: No


    One more technician is needed to assist a master’s student with a McCown’s longspur demographics study in Phillips and Valley Counties in northeast Montana. The project will run from April 27th until late July with training occurring during the first week. Pay will be $2300 a month for 3 months. The primary focus of this study is to investigate the potential for agricultural fields to act as ecological traps for breeding McCown’s longspurs. There will also be a vegetation assessment component, so those with good grassland bird identification skills and/or those with prairie plant identification skills are both encouraged to apply.

    Duties will include conducting avian point counts, using behavioral cues and rope dragging to find songbird nests, monitoring nests, vegetation/habitat assessments and data entry. Technicians will be part of a 6-person crew and will be expected to work well alone and with others. Field housing and work vehicles will be provided.


    Desired qualifications include excellent prairie bird identification skills, both by sight and sound, and/or prairie plant identification skills. Those with a passion for avian research and management and willingness to learn or improve upon their bird and plant ID skills are also encouraged to apply.

    This position will require long and irregular hours in the field as we will need to collect a lot of data in a short amount of time. Preferred applicants will have demonstrated ability to work well alone with minimal supervision but also to work well in a group field setting. The ability to follow protocols is of critical importance. Spring and summer can be very muddy in northeastern Montana after heavy rain, so preference will be given to those with experience working and driving field vehicles in such conditions.

    Applicants should be highly motivated, field savvy, well organized, and have strong interest in avian ecology and management. A valid driver’s license is required for this position. Those interested in the position should submit a cover letter, resume/CV, and 3 professional references (with name, phone number and email) in a single Word or PDF file to amber.swicegood@student.montana.edu. Please include “Avian Tech Position” in the subject line. Deadline for applications is March 20, 2020, but applications will be reviewed as they are received. If a suitable candidate is found early, the position will be offered before the closing date.

    Any questions regarding the position can be directed to Amber Swicegood at the email listed above or at 336-309-1245.

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