Jump to content
Ornithology Exchange
  • Whimbrel Stopover Ecology Field Technician

    • Employer: University of Massachusetts Amherst
      Location: Charleston County, South Carolina
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/20/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    The Senner Lab in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is seeking to hire one seasonal field technician to assist with research on the stopover ecology of the long-distance migratory shorebird the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) on the coast of South Carolina. Building off the recent discovery that South Carolina hosts the largest known nocturnal roost for the species, the project is focused on better understanding how Whimbrel select roosting and foraging sites and how those choices influence their entire annual cycle. The field technician will assist with all aspects of fieldwork — including capturing and tagging Whimbrel, as well as carrying out focal foraging observations and nocturnal roost surveys — with opportunities for learning research skills throughout the season. Candidates that identify with groups currently underrepresented in wildlife ecology and conservation are encouraged to apply. This is a temporary, unbenefited position.

    Essential Functions

    • Nocturnal capture, banding, and tagging of Whimbrel; banding and tagging captured individuals with field-readable leg flags and GPS transmitters.
    • Daily data collection from VHF antenna base stations to download GPS data from tagged individuals.
    • Regular maintenance and monitoring of semi-permanent VHF antenna base stations.
    • Conducting foraging habitat quality assessments using a combination of remote sensing and ground-based surveys.
    • Daily trips to barrier islands, sandbars, salt marsh creeks, shell rakes, and beaches on foot and using motorboats and kayaks.
    • Regular maintenance of boats and work vehicles.

    Minimum Qualifications

    • Interest in ecology, field biology, migration, animal movement tracking, and/or related fields.
    • Comfort in and on the water, including wading in salt water and quickly getting in and out of motorboats. Experience driving boats is not required, but technician will be expected to assist boat captain with all aspects of boat transportation, safety, and maintenance. Field boat is a 16ft. Boston Whaler, driven from a console.
    • Strong work ethic, eagerness to learn fieldwork and research methods, and ability to work well on a team and independently in challenging physical conditions and sometimes stressful scenarios. Applicant must be adaptable, communicative, cooperative, and detail oriented.

    Preferred Qualifications

    • Previous experience with outdoor fieldwork and following research protocols.
    • Previous experience banding shorebirds not required, but any experience handling birds or participating in bird capture and banding is a plus.
    • Familiarity with (or willingness to learn) methods for boating, landing, and anchoring in tidal ocean and salt marsh environments.
    • Familiarity with South Carolina/Georgia coast or similar intertidal saltmarsh habitats.

    Physical Demands/Working Conditions

    This position requires working in humid, subtropical conditions – including bright sun, intense heat, biting insects, rain, and walking long distances on soft sand and mud.

    Additional Details

    Field lodging, transportation, meals, and all necessary equipment will be provided.

    Work Schedule

    This project requires flexibility to work at various times of day throughout the season; work hours during bird trapping efforts take place from late afternoon to after dark, while habitat survey efforts take place from early morning until afternoon.

    This is a temporary, unbenefited position (3/27/2023 – 6/02/2023).

    Salary Information


    Temporary position: 03/27/23 - 06/02/23

    How to Apply

    To apply, please submit a resume, brief cover letter describing your interest and relevant experience, and contact information for two professional references. Please address your cover letter to Maina Handmaker, PhD student in the Senner Lab at UMass Amherst. All applications must be submitted through the official UMass Amherst job posting in order to be considered. Please apply using this link: https://careers.umass.edu/amherst/en-us/job/517242/departmental-assistant-senner-lab-field-technician


    As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. (https://www.cns.umass.edu/diversity-equity-inclusion)

    UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • If the resources provided by the Ornithology Exchange are valuable to you,  please consider making a donation to support the OE,  through the Ornithology Council's PayPal Link. Thank you for your support!

  • Create New...