The Crane Trust is hiring two seasonal bird biologists for our Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program (see: http://www.birdpop.org/pages/maps.php) in the beautiful Platte River Valley, Nebraska. Seasonal biologists will work closely with staff biologists on a long-term field research project on migratory songbird population responses to climate change and habitat management in the Great Plains. You can learn more about our songbird research program here: https://cranetrust.org/what-we-do/conservation/research/songbird-banding-program.html. Successful applicants will have skills and experience in mist-netting, bird identification, and bird banding. Previous experience using MAPS protocols is highly desirable but not essential. Positions start on or around May 20 and continue until approximately August 12, 2019.
Seasonal bird biologists will conduct field research on Dickcissel, Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, and other migratory songbirds species that nest in native prairie and wet meadows, some of which are grazed by American bison or cattle. We will use Pyle’s Identification Guide to North American Birds to identify ages and sexes of birds in the hand using plumage and molt details. We will operate four banding stations once every 10 days, for a total minimum of 12 banding days per month. Other work days will be spent doing data entry and management, other research-related office tasks, and habitat surveys. Motivated individuals may also choose to pursue an independent field project or collaborate on data analysis and/or other aspects of conducting, co-authoring, and publishing research. This is an ideal opportunity for early career biologists seeking additional experience and considering graduate school and/or a professional career in wildlife research and conservation.
POSITION DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: This position starts on or around May 20 and continues to August 12 (~3 months). Depending on their availability, banders could arrive as early as May 1 in order to assist with related projects such as banding migrating songbirds in riparian woodlands. The work requires previous bird banding training and/or experience, the ability to operate mist nets to safely capture, handle, band, age, sex, and measure birds, and a demonstrated capacity to enter and manage detailed data in a standardized format. It includes a moderate amount of walking while carrying equipment (mist net poles, nets, banding gear), and pre-dawn starts to banding days that sometime include challenging conditions (high speed winds, heat, rain, biting insects). Applicants should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent experience in ecology, natural resources, or a related field. The bander must conduct highly repetitive work while maintaining high standards for animal welfare and strong attention to detail to ensure data integrity. Banders should have a strong work ethic, good physical condition, and positive attitude. Flexibility, enthusiasm for field work, a sense of humor and the ability to work both independently and as a team player are also important attributes.
COMPENSATION: Salary range will be between $1200-$1440/month in addition to free shared housing and use of a research vehicle (valid driver’s license required). Housing at the Crane Trust’s Wild Rose Ranch consists of private bedrooms with shared kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. WiFi is available throughout our accommodations and office, which include shared computers and printing facilities. Biologists will have 8 or more days off per month, but working some weekends may be required depending on weather conditions in order to avoid operating mist nets in rain, high winds, or extreme heat. Perks include living and working in a beautiful private conservation reserve and Important Bird Area in close proximity to a highly diverse riparian prairie wildlife community including river otters, beavers, coyotes, raptors, waterbirds, and wildflowers. Unfortunately, we cannot provide fringe benefits or health insurance with these positions.
TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter that details relevant experience and skills, a CV, and contact information for three references as a single PDF document to Dr. Nico Arcilla [EM: narcilla(at)cranetrust.org]. Please write “seasonal bird biologist” in the subject line of your email, and include in your cover letter an estimate of the number of birds you have extracted from mist nets and processed. Feel free to email before applying with any questions you may have. Applications will be evaluated as they arrive; final deadline for applications is March 15, 2019.
For more information on our main study species, see the following links: