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  • Nocturnal Bird Survey Technician(s) – Eastern Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows

    Guest Matt Broadway
    • Employer: Oklahoma State University
      Location: Eastern Oklahoma
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 04/16/2023
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Position Description: Oklahoma State University is hiring one (1) field technician to assist a PhD student on a large-scale survey and monitoring project on the ecology and distribution of Eastern Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows from approximately May 1st to July 31st (somewhat flexible) in eastern Oklahoma. Sampling will involve nocturnal/evening (sunset – sunrise) acoustic surveys for calling Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows, including use of call playback methods. The technician will also be expected to collect data on nocturnal raptors (e.g., owls) during surveys. Surveys will mostly be conducted independently, from roadsides across eastern Oklahoma. Many surveys will be in remote areas, last throughout the night with extensive driving to-and-from survey routes and have little-to-no cell phone reception at times. Additional duties include data entry and organization, mist-netting Whip-poor-wills and Chuc-will’s-widows at night, searching for and collecting fecal/DNA samples, and possibly nest searching.

    To clarify: The bulk of the duties (i.e., >70%) will include nocturnal surveys from roadsides.

    Field work will sometimes be weather dependent and time-off may come with short-notice. Survey work could last 9 hours in a single night with considerable drive-time to and from designated routes. This work is not physically demanding; however, it is physiologically and mentally exhausting. Hence, the graduate student and technician will work together to plan and schedule regular time-off to maintain a healthy working environment and work-life balance. Weekly work hours are limited to 40 hours/week. No over-time is available for this project.

    Housing will be provided at two locations. The technician and graduate student will alternate between them for part of the field season. North Location: Housing is a vintage 1967 Airstream Safari RV (22 ft) located at a campground near Sallisaw, OK. The RV provides full bathroom, sink, bed, dinette, stove, microwave, A/C, and refrigerator; the campground provides additional amenities, (e.g., additional showers, pool, wifi). South Location: when sampling the southern portion of the study region, the technician/grad student will stay in a large temporary housing trailer with full kitchen, bath, and bedroom will be provided at the Kiamichi Forest Research Station in Idabel, OK. Multiple graduate students and technicians on other projects will be similarly housed at the research site.

    Qualifications: Applicants should have (or be working toward) a BS degree in wildlife, forestry, ecology, animal behavior, biology, or a related field. They must also be able to (or learn how to): collect consistently precise and accurate survey data, work effectively and collegially in a group and independently, safely drive a large 4wd vehicle at night, identify target bird species by sight and sound, reliably operate handheld GPS units and a compass, and be willing to camp (in an RV). Given the nocturnal nature of the work, the grad student and principal investigators are committed to ensuring the incumbent experiences a safe and supportive work environment regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

    Experience with Microsoft Word and Excel, uploading, saving, and manipulating shared files in cloud-based systems such as Googledrive, OneDrive, are also preferred. Experience identifying birds (including owls) by sight/sound, or other acoustic survey experience is preferred, but not required. Must be detail oriented, highly reliable, punctual, flexible with a good work ethic, coachable, safe, independent, and, most importantly, listen to instruction and adhere to strict survey protocols. Integrity is non-negotiable.

    Regarding Covid-19 measures, successful applicants will be expected to follow all guidelines as set forth by Oklahoma State University, the State of Oklahoma, and local county health officials. Any additional safety measures necessary to meet a desirable level of precaution, will be implemented in the field.

    Oklahoma State University is an EEO E-Verify employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.


    To Apply: send 1) a single-page cover-letter outlining your interest and intangible qualifications, 2) current CV/Resume, and 3) contact information for 3 (no more than 1 personal) references as a single PDF file to the hiring contact via email.

    Contact Person: Matt Broadway

    Contact eMail: matt.broadway@okstate.edu

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