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  • Queen's University Biological Station: Avian Field Biologist (Tree Swallows)

    • Employer: Queen's University Biological Station
      Location: Field sites outside of Elgin, Ontario (55 km north of Kingston, ON, Canada)
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: 04/15/2023
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    The Queen’s University Biology Station (QUBS; www.qubs.ca) is located near the village of Chaffey’s Lock, approximately 50kms north of Kingston, Ontario, and is one of the largest inland university-based field station in Canada with over 3,400 hectares of property. Its primary mandate is to provide opportunities for university teaching and research in the biological and related sciences. QUBS has two campuses: Opinicon Lake (hereafter Opinicon), where most research and teaching occurs, and the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre (ELEEC), which offers public and school outreach.  

    The Queen’s University Biological Station is seeking a highly motivated and skilled field biologist to lead the monitoring of the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor; TRES) nest boxes (~215 boxes).  Tree-swallows have seen a North American decline since the 1990s. Researchers have collected data on QUBS box-nesting population of tree swallows since 1975. There is no current active research project; however, the Field Biologist will be critical in ensuring that this population continues to be monitored. Tree swallows are aerial insectivores, and the network of TRES nest boxes affords an opportunity to study the population at QUBS.

    Past tree swallow research on these boxes has explored how these birds have responded in terms of behaviour (parental care, foraging), reproductive success (numbers of offspring produced), and survival to climatic factors. This important work will help us to deepen our understanding of the demographics of the QUBS populations, as well as those of other avian species, including other aerial insectivores, facing similar decline across their ranges. 

    The Avian Field Biologist reports to the QUBS Senior Manager and QUBS Director.  Two summer undergraduate interns will assist with monitoring of the tree swallows and entering data. This is a seasonal, full time position (mid-May until end of July 2022). 

    Tasks and responsibilities:

    Avian Field Biologist responsibilities:

    1. Routine capture, measurement, and banding of adult and nestling tree swallows  
    2. Ensure that all necessary permits are in place and posted before the start of each season (CWS, Animal Care)
    3. Maintain the band inventory and order equipment when necessary.
    4. Supervise summer conservation research interns when assisting with this project
    5. Submission of banding data to Canada Wildlife Service
    6. Communicating with neighbours and the general public

    Tasks Completed by two summer undergraduate interns assisting with project, and overseen by Avian Field Biologist:

    1. Basic maintenance, repair and numbering of tree swallow nest boxes 
    2. Monitoring of nesting tree swallows to census for breeding activities (nest checks, egg counts, etc.) 
    3. Data collection, entry, management and analysis using MS Excel 

    On-site accommodation and meals at the field station included during the length of the position (option to live on-site or off-site).  Applicant should have access to their own vehicle for the duration of the position, however there is a station vehicle available as needed.  A significant amount of driving will be required to travel to field sites (e.g., field sites may be 20 to 40 minutes from the biological station on Opinicon Lake and driving to multiple field sites in a day may be required). Mileage from the field station to field sites will be reimbursed if using personal vehicle.

    Non-traditional hours, including evening and/or weekend commitments may be required during peak periods (active breeding season).  


    • Strong interest in avian ecology and wildlife conservation
    • Previous banding (at least 2000 birds banded) and bander training experience with a strong emphasis on passerines is required. Experience working or volunteering at a migration monitoring station, or similar research/field station.
    • Certification as a Bander or Trainer by the North American Banding Council (specifically for TRES).  
    • Ensure all necessary permits are in place and posted before the start of each season (CWS, Animal Care)
    • B.Sc. in biology (or exceptional field experience)
    • Strong leadership and mentoring skills needed to oversee two summer interns and take charge of a research and monitoring project. 
    • Valid driver’s licence, good driving record, and access to own vehicle with valid insurance (QUBS vehicle available if needed)
    • Strong organizational and record keeping abilities with keen attention to detail
    • Self-motivated and dependable, with a strong work ethic and strong interest in fieldwork
    • Analytic and writing skills are also highly desirable (data entry)
    • Able to work with little supervision, both independently and in a team environment
    • Comfortable working early mornings and in field conditions that can be physically demanding and unpleasant (several hours of walking each day, variable weather, biting insects).
    • Willingness to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols (e.g., quarantine [if required], wearing masks, physical distancing, etc.)
    • Good interpersonal skills 
    • First aid and AED certification also an asset.

    From mid May until late July, staff may work 6 days per week (occasionally 7 days). Overtime will be compensated with paid time off in lieu or overtime pay, as required by provincial regulations and funding sources. 

    Visit our web site at www.qubs.ca to learn more the Queen’s University Biological Station. 

    Salary $20/hr - $23/hr (Canadian), depending on experience

    Please apply with resume and cover letter.  

    Send applications and any questions to:  qubs@queensu.ca


    QUBS_Logo_with_Full_Name_DEC2019 (2).png

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