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  • Prothonotary Warbler Field Technician

    • Employer: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      Location: Southern Illinois
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/31/2022
      Open Until Filled: No

    Duration: ~April 25th - July 25th 2022

    Salary: $600/week, free housing provided at local field station with utilities included (no pets allowed)


    Job description: One field technician is needed to assist in an experimental project on the behavior of breeding prothonotary warblers led by PhD Candidate Hannah Scharf under supervision of Prof. Mark Hauber and Dr. Wendy Schelsky in the Cache River Watershed, Southern Illinois. The position will include recording detailed behavioral and reproductive data, monitoring nestboxes, assisting in target mist-netting adult prothonotary warblers, banding and taking blood samples from adult and nestling warblers, as well as setting up, monitoring, and replacing batteries for RFID readers attached to nestboxes. This position requires working independently in the field at times, walking long distances and wading in murky swamp water, carrying heavy batteries, mist net poles, and other equipment, and tolerating heat, humidity, and biting insects later in the season. Training with detailed protocol will be provided. Hours will average to ~35/week with an average of 5 hours of field work per day. Due to the nature of the project, this will include weekends and holidays. We are looking for someone with attention to detail and good organizational skills, ability to problem-solve and troubleshoot, ability to work both independently and as a team with a good attitude, and importantly – an interest in bird behavior.


    Major responsibilities

    • Monitoring nests of prothonotary warblers and recording important data such as nest stage, age of chicks, number of chicks, etc.
    • Assisting with target mist netting
    • Assisting with banding, measuring, and taking blood samples from adult and nestling birds which includes keeping banding/bleeding supplies stocked, recording band combinations and measurements, and keeping blood samples organized
    • Setting up, monitoring, troubleshooting, and replacing batteries of RFID readers which monitor nest visitation of prothonotary warblers


    Qualifications, Knowledge, and Skills

    • Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, ecology, environmental science or similar field preferred
    • Experience taking scientific data and follow detailed protocols
    • Willingness and flexibility to work irregular hours under sometimes difficult field conditions
    • Ability to walk long distances on muddy, uneven terrain or wade in water
    • Ability to carry 20lbs of equipment if needed
    • Ability to live remotely and communally with other members of the project and/or other scientists working in the area in a shared field station for the duration of the position
    • Knowledge handling, capturing, and banding birds preferred
    • Authorization to take on employment in the USA (we cannot offer a work visa)


    Qualified individuals may apply by emailing a resume/CV with the names and email addresses of 2 professional references in pdf format. In the body of the email, please introduce yourself, summarize your experience and why you are applying for this position, and what your future career goals are. You may also include any questions about the position/nature of the project. Emails may be sent to hscharf2@illinois.edu with the subject line “Prothonotary Warbler Field Tech Position”.

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