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    Volunteer field assistants for behavioural research on Jacky winters in Australia

    • Employer: Australian National University
      Location: Calperum Station, Renmark, South Australia
      Country: Australia
      Last Date to Apply: 07/19/2019
      Open Until Filled: No

    We are seeking three volunteer field assistants for research into the effects of climate change on a population of small birds in the arid-zone of Australia. The project 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 reproduction 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) can be very hot (up to 47C).

    Likely duties:

    -          weighing the habituated birds (non-invasively)

    -          finding and monitoring nests

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

    -          photographing preening birds

    -          scoring video footage of birds provisioning at the nest

    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


    The duration of all positions is three months. We need one field assistant to start in early September, and two at the beginning of December.

    We will provide accommodation, an allowance to cover food costs and will pay for transport within Australia to the study site. The volunteer will need to cover the cost of international air fares, visa and travel insurance.

    To apply, please send a CV, contact details for two referees and a short (1 page) introductory letter (please include the dates you are available and whether you have a driver’s licence) to lynda.sharpe@anu.edu.au

    Applications close:  20 July 2019 (for the September position)  and  1 September 2109 (for the December positions).

    For further information please contact:   lynda.sharpe@anu.edu.au.  Research project website: https://janetlgardner.wordpress.com/jacky-winters/

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