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  • UAS Blackbird Research Technician – North Dakota

    Jessica Duttenhefner
    • Employer: North Dakota State University (NDSU) in cooperation with the USDA-APHIS-WS National Wildlife Research Center
      Location: Central North Dakota
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 07/01/2021
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Start Date: 08/25/2021 

    Salary: $12/hr with housing provided near Bismarck, ND.  

    Last Date to Apply: July 1. Applications will be reviewed starting June 1st. 

    Description: Two technicians are needed from 25 August – 31 October, 2021 to assist a NDSU graduate student on a blackbird (Icteridae) research project. The research will evaluate the response of free-ranging flocks of blackbirds to a spraying UAS (i.e., drone) applying avian repellent to commercial sunflower fields. This project is part of on-going research to evaluate novel non-lethal hazing techniques to mitigate the conflict between blackbirds and sunflower producers.  

    This position is ideal for a recent graduate that wants to gain field experience and has previous experience, or strong interest, in operating drone platforms. The technician will be a full-time employee through NDSU, allowing for a 40-hour work week schedule. A typical week will be HIGHLY dependent on weather, and work day flexibility is a necessity (i.e., field work may not be M-F during set times, but will instead be weather permitting). However, there will be down time in the mornings or afternoon/evenings and days off provided. Field sites are commercial (privately owned) sunflower fields throughout central North Dakota, and thus requires long days spent in a truck driving to sites. The technicians will share a travel trailer for housing. 

    Duties: The technicians are needed to operate a small UAS and collect field data, while the graduate student is conducting spraying trials with a larger UAS. The technicians will also help manage videos and data collection concerning collective animal behavior in response to drones. Duties will include, assisting the graduate student with UAS set up, operating a small UAS, acting as a field observer, monitoring blackbird flocks and their behavior, estimating flock sizes, and using field equipment such as: binoculars, range finders, weather meter, sound meter, and other technology related to the UAS. Trials will most likely take place in the morning, requiring an early start to the day. 

    Training will be provided so that the technicians receive their FAA Part 107 pilot’s license in order to fly a small UAS prior to the field season. 

    Desired Qualifications:  

    • Degree in Wildlife Biology, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, Zoology, Biology, Precision Agriculture or other associated degrees.  
    • Previous experience conducting avian field research. 
    • Motivated, willing, positive, and dependable attitude. 
    • Excellent communication skills. 
    • Ability to work well on a small team, with constant car travel, in small shared housing. 
    • Ability to work long/irregular hours. 
    • Preference for applicants that have previous experience with applying pesticide 
    • Strong preference for applicants that have previous experience with operating a small UAS. 

    How to Apply: Send a single document (Word or PDF) that includes your cover letter, resume/cv, and contact information for 3 references to Jessica Duttenhefner at jessica.duttenhefner@ndsu.edu 

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