What is the project about?
We have recently discovered that the Australian passerine, the Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis), has two distinct genetic lineages, even though the lineages look exactly the same. (Some finer details make this situation really unusual, which you can read about here). This component of the project is looking at what happens when the two lineages interbred – is there fitness consequences to crossing between two locally adapted lineages? Breeding season runs from end of August - early January, and I am looking for people for any time within the breeding season.
***edit: We are fully booked for October - January. Places still available for September.
What is involved?
- Nest searching
- Resighting of colour banded individuals
- Radio tracking
- Wildlife cameras on nests
- Nestling monitoring
- Mist netting and spring loaded traps
- Help packing the ute in the mornings, charging electronic gear, helping to keep the house running and clean, making sure Lana doesn’t forget things
We work long days, and can be in the field all day (before sunrise to sunset). We normally work 7-14 days in a row (depending on priorities, how many active nests we have, etc) and then have a few days off, so if you wanted to head into Melbourne and explore/rest we can make that happen.
What is included?
- All food (excluding alcohol). Most dietary requirements can be catered for (we eat mostly vegetarian, and have G.F. + vegans regularly on the team).
- Accommodation. Volunteers will be based in a field house in Newstead, near Castlemaine (regional Victoria). The field house is a two-bedroom home within an hour’s drive of all our field sites. While it is a well-equipped home, it is still a field house. Normally there are between 2-8 ppl there at any one time, so we share bedrooms (mattresses on the floor) and a single bathroom. Yes, we have wifi.
- Daily travel to field sites from our accommodation Newstead, Victoria. Travel to Newstead is not covered. To get to Newstead from the airport; there is a shuttle from Melbourne International Airport (Tullamarine) to Southern Cross Train station (~$20). From there a train to Castlemaine takes ~2hrs. We can generally pick you up from Castlemaine train station. Unfortunately, international airfares cannot be covered.
Who can apply?
Preference is given to volunteers with previous birding experience (any of the tasks detailed above), or people that enjoy taking photos of birds (this is REALLY useful for colour resighting). If you don’t have previous bird experience but are super keen then please send me an email and we can have a chat. The most valuable volunteers in my experience have a good set of eyes and are eager to learn. Preferable if you have your own binoculars and/or camera. Minimum of 1 week stay is preferred, and longer stays are welcome. I will be accepting applications until we have a full field team.
I enjoy training new volunteers and passing on knowledge, and appreciate that you have sacrificed time and money to be a volunteer. Because of this I want to make sure every volunteer enjoys their time with us. With this said, not every person is suited to every task and I will always put the welfare of our birds first. However, I will try my hardest to teach you skills you can take away, and I will delegate responsibilities when I think you are ready (this is the best way to learn!). The longer you stay the more you will get out of the position.
How can I apply?
Please send an email to Lana (firstname.lastname@example.org) including
- Why you are interested in the project
- What you hope to get out of your time with us
- Your current resume
- Preferred dates and length of stay