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  • Seasonal Bird Bander and Mist Net Assistants - Michigan

    • Employer: Michigan State University
      Location: Mid-Michigan
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Experienced passerine bird bander and mist net assistants needed from 15 August to 15 October for fall migration research on Nearctic-Neotropical landbirds at the Michigan State Bird Observatory (MSBO) in mid-Michigan. The MSBO operates two bird banding stations that are approximately 1 mile apart: the Burke Lake Banding Station (BULA; www.burkelakebanding.com) and the Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center (Corey Marsh; https://www.canr.msu.edu/cmerc/). These stations are 15 minutes from Michigan State University’s main campus in East Lansing, MI. 

    Over 3000 individuals of 80 species on average are banded at BULA alone each fall. The stations are open 30 minutes prior to sunrise to 5 hours post-sunrise, 7 days a week, weather permitting. Each site is operated with 1 bander, 2 -3 mist net assistants, 1 outreach specialist, and 2-3 mist net interns. The bander is responsible for banding and taking morphological measurements on all birds captured at one station 6 mornings per week.

    Education and outreach are a key part of our mission; hence, the station is open to the public and hosts many visitors. A reliable personal vehicle, valid driver’s license, and auto insurance are required. Hiring is contingent upon passing a background check and drug screen through Michigan State University. Housing is unlikely to be available but please inquire if needed. 



    Bander must have experience banding large volumes of birds (100+ birds per morning) and be familiar with the aging and sexing of eastern passerine birds. Although primary duties are banding and mist-netting, the bander will also be responsible for:  

    • Overseeing daily operations, such as overseeing a crew of 6-8 others, opening and closing the station on schedule, and maintaining inventory.
    • Managing data entry, including filling out a daily log.
    • Communicating with visitors about how and why we band birds.  
    • The individual will need to be successfully sub-permitted under Dr. Jen Owen’s Master Banding Permit.

    Mist net assistants must have experience extracting large volumes of birds (100+ birds per morning). Mist net assistants will also be responsible for:  

    • Making sure net runs are all done on time.
    • Training new interns.
    • Accompanying visitors on mist-net runs.
    • Working directly with the visitors – showing birds in hand, explaining why we band birds, basic facts about bird migration, bird biology, etc.
    • Assisting with data entry and site maintenance.

    To apply, please submit a letter of interest, your résumé, and the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of 3 references familiar with your relevant experience to Dr. Jen Owen at burkelakebanding(at)gmail.com. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

    Time commitment – 6 days per week.

    Pay – Based on prior experience. Bander $500 - $600/week (full-time); Mist Net Assistant $360 - $450/week (full-time)

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