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  • Two Wildlife Field Technicians —Yuma Ridgway’s Rail Research


    Guest Cydney Yost
    • Employer: University of Idaho
      Location: Southeastern California and Southwestern Arizona
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/06/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    Job Description:  We are looking for motivated and enthusiastic technicians to assist with on-going research on the endangered Yuma Ridgway’s rail in the southwestern U.S. The work will primarily occur in the Salton Sea region and along the Lower Colorado River, a major migratory stopover point for many species of birds. The work is multi-faceted and aims to better understand the: 1) dispersal and migration behavior of this endangered rail; 2) contaminant risk to breeding rails at the Salton Sea in California; and 3) spatial and temporal patterns in marsh bird abundance along the Lower Colorado River. Our research will help inform conservation and recovery actions of endangered Yuma Ridgway’s rails. The technicians will help trap, band, collect tissue samples, and attach solar-powered satellite transmitters to Yuma Ridgway’s rails. The technicians will also help locate rail nests and collect invertebrate and fish samples for contaminant analyses. Technicians may have the opportunity to assist with standardized marsh bird surveys in boats and/or on foot. Occasional overnight travel may occur. Tasks will vary depending on project needs and will change over the course of the field season.

    Field work will occur in marshes at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding marshes in southeastern California and along the Lower Colorado River north of Yuma, Arizona. The Salton Sea is an hour away from Joshua Tree National Park, an hour and a half south of Palm Springs, and two hours east of San Diego! This area is very hot during the summer months, especially in late June and July where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Working within the marsh system can be humid and buggy (mosquitos). On trapping days we begin work before sunrise. Shared housing will be provided at the refuge. Field technicians will live and work alongside a University of Idaho graduate student and research scientist, and will interact with state and federal agency biologists, including biologists from USFWS, BLM, and CDFW. The position will start in March and conclude in mid-July. We have some flexibility with the start and end dates.

    Duties will include but are not limited to:

    1. Capturing and banding rails in wetlands

    2. Collecting blood and feather samples from captured rails

    3. Attaching solar-powered satellite transmitters to the rails

    4. Locating rail nests to collect eggshells

    5. Collecting invertebrate samples for contaminant analyses

    6. Processing invertebrate samples

    7. Conducting standardized marsh bird surveys

    Qualifications: Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree or be currently working toward one in wildlife biology/zoology or related ecology field. Applicants should have a strong work ethic, interpersonal skills, a valid driver’s license, and be willing to live and conduct field research in hot weather conditions. Applicants should also be enthusiastic about avian research, comfortable working during early mornings, and in remote areas.

    To apply: Please send, in a single PDF document, a cover letter, resume, and contact information for ≥3 references to both cyost@uidaho.edu and ksliwa@uidaho.edu. Please write “Rail Technician Application” in the subject line. Applicants will be considered as they are received.

    Contact Person: Cydney Yost & Kathryn Sliwa

    Contact Email: cyost@uidaho.edu & ksliwa@uidaho.edu




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