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    URGENT: Volunteer field assistants for Jacky winters in Australia

    • Employer: Australian National University
      Location: Calperum Station, Renmark, South Australia
      Country: Australia
      Last Date to Apply: 01/09/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    URGENT: Volunteer field assistants for behavioural research on Jacky winters in Australia needed IMMEDIATELY

    Due to a last-minute cancellation, we are urgently seeking two volunteer field assistants for research into the effects of climate change on a population of small birds in the arid-zone of Australia.

    The positions are for two months, beginning at the start of January 2020.

    Our research focuses on how a habituated population of wild Jacky winters (a small Australasian robin) respond to high temperatures and how heat exposure impacts upon their behaviour and survival. We work (and live) in the largest surviving remnant of mallee woodland in Australia at Calperum Station Reserve (a rehabilitated sheep station) in South Australia. This desert habitat is bisected by the Murray River and is home to abundant birdlife, kangaroos, emus and parrots. Conditions at the study site during summer (Dec-Feb) tend to be very hot (up to 47C).

    Likely duties:

    -          weighing the habituated birds (non-invasively)

    -          collecting behavioural data on focal birds and entering the data on to the computer

    -          photographing preening birds

    -          documenting, and taking thermal images of, potential thermal refuges

    -          scoring video footage of birds provisioning at the nest

    -          following birds to collect serial faecal samples

    To enjoy this position, you’ll need to be comfortable working in the field alone (always within phone contact) and in the company of a team-mate (when temperatures are high). You’ll also need to be able to cope with social isolation, heat, flies, dawn starts and possible (but very rare) encounters with venomous snakes.

    Preferred (but not essential):

    -          a degree or equivalent in the biological sciences

    -          an interest in behavioural ecology, bird behaviour and/or climate change research

    -          experience collecting behavioural data

    -          experience working/living in the field

    -          experience with wild birds or animals, particularly reading colour-bands

    -          responsible and reliable, with a strong work ethic

    -          fluent in English

    -          sufficiently fit to walk 2-3 km in very hot conditions

    -          unimpaired hearing (to pinpoint bird calls)


    The duration of the positions is two months, beginning at the start of January (or as soon as possible after this).

    We will provide onsite accommodation (in a shared, air-conditioned house) and a weekly allowance of $AUD100 to cover food costs. We will also pay for transport within Australia to the study site. Volunteers will need to cover the cost of international air fares, visa and travel insurance.

    Please apply ASAP, by sending a CV, a short cover letter and contact details for two referees to: lynda.sharpe@anu.edu.au

    Applications open until positions are filled. 

    For further information please contact:   lynda.sharpe@anu.edu.au

    Research project website: https://janetlgardner.wordpress.com/jacky-winters/

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