We seek an enthusiastic and experienced volunteer avian field biologist to aid with monitoring, capturing, and processing snowy plovers (Charadrius nivosus), Wilson’s plovers (C. wilsonia), and Killdeer (C. vociferous) inhabiting Bahía de Ceuta in Sinaloa, Mexico between April 18 and July 15, 2019 (exact start and end dates are somewhat flexible). In-country costs such as research expenses, food, and accommodation for the duration of the field season will be covered by project funding. Our research objective is to investigate the sex-biased dispersal and partial migration in Charadrius plovers using GPS tagging and colour-marking. Bahía de Ceuta provides a unique circumstance to study these three closely related plover species that overlap in their distributions but differ in their breeding behaviours. This project is supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and is based out of the Küpper Research Group of Behavioural Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. See here for a video showcasing our field efforts in Bahía de Ceuta.
Duties: Typical daily duties include walking through saltmarsh and saltflat habitats in a mobile hide searching for plover nests and broods and resighting colour-ringed/banded plovers with binoculars and scope. Once a nest is located, it is marked on a handheld GPS and the eggs and measured and floated to determine expected hatch date. Adult plovers are caught on nests with funnel traps and subsequently ringed/banded, measured, and sampled for blood. Focal individuals will be outfitted with a leg-loop harness carrying a 1g GPS tag. Behavioural observations of brood care and nest attendance are also needed. The volunteer is expected to aid with entering field data into databases.
To Apply: Submit a one page cover letter, CV highlighting relevant experience, and contact information for three academic or professional references to Luke Eberhart-Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Knowledge/skills required: An exceptional candidate will have experience with resighting colour-ringed/banded birds with binoculars and scope, nest searching, floating eggs, trapping ground nesting birds, ringing/banding birds with metal and darvic rings/bands, taking blood samples from tarsal and brachial veins, and working long hours in strenuous sub-tropical conditions while maintaining a positive and enthusiastic attitude. Knowledge of Spanish is advantageous. The ability to drive a 4x4 manual transmission is a plus. If the applicant is inexperienced in any of the aforementioned skills but demonstrates high potential, enthusiasm, and keen knowledge of ornithology or evolutionary biology during the recruiting process, we will seriously consider your application and provide the relevant training needed in the field. Colour vision, ability to walk on uneven terrain for up to 6 km per day, and willingness to eat local cuisine are crucial.