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  • Volunteer Assistant Banders for Fall Migration in Southern Utah

    Kyle Kittelberger
    • Employer: University of Utah
      Location: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa near Moab, Utah
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 07/18/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    Dates: ~August 18th – November 5th

    Where: Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa, Moab, Utah

    Work Schedule: ~7 hours/day, 10 days on 2 days off

    Salary: TBD, see below

    We're looking for two to three volunteer assistant banders to join a lead bander for the fall banding season. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain real experience in the handling and processing of songbirds at a long-term monitoring site.

    You will be working at the Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa near Moab, Utah. This beautiful canyonland riparian habitat provides critical resources to migratory birds, amidst the desert of the Colorado Plateau. The station has banded over 20,000 birds so far of 133 species, including Lucy’s Warbler, Willow Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Wren, Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush Sparrow, Gray Vireo, and much more.

    The position runs from the middle of August (approximately August 18) through November 5th, encompassing the entirety of fall bird migration; availability for this entire period is key. The banding team is required to work 10 days on and 2 days off. Nets are opened from a half hour before dawn for six hours a day, conditions permitting. In addition to the banding you will be responsible for providing training and guidance for the volunteers, tours to visiting educational groups, entering and proofing all of the data, and writing weekly banding reports. In your free time you can explore the fantastic Red Rock Country of southern Utah, go rafting on the Dolores River, etc.

    Additionally, you will be expected to work a minimum of three hours a week (in the afternoon), at $15/hour, with the Rio Mesa site manager on projects such as gardening, watering, and other site maintenance. These three hours will help cover weekly accommodation on site. You will have the option though to work up to roughly 10 hours a week (the exact number of hours might fluctuate slightly per week) if you want to earn a part-time salary during the season. 

    Banding experience is not required. It is important that you are at least enthusiastic about bird research and/or conservation biology. You must be able to live with and work well with a small team for a few months in a fairly isolated location; comfortability operating in a remote field station setting with limited wi-fi, no cell service, and a 1.5 hour distance from the closest town are key. You must be able to also interact well with any visitors young and old. Ideally you would have some field experience and be used to working outside for long hours in variable conditions. This site also now has a Motus station- experience with fitting Motus NanoTags on birds are a major plus, as we are hoping to tag birds this fall for the Motus project while banding, but not a requirement.

    If interested, please email your interest and experience plus a resume to kyle.kittelberger@utah.edu.


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