Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch Lead Counter – New York

Bedford Audubon
Bedford Corners, NY
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
$10/hr, housing credit available
Start Date
Last Date to Apply

Bedford Audubon is pleased to announce the availability of a 15-week paid opportunity in field (raptors) biology in Bedford Corners, New York.

About Bedford Audubon Society:
Bedford Audubon’s mission is to connect people to nature.

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that owns and manages nearly 600 acres of stunning wildlife habitat in four sanctuaries, with more than seven miles of scenic trails. Our largest sanctuary includes Bylane Farm, our historic 1700s center of operations and home to our offices, the John Bull Library, and the Leon Levy Native Garden.

Since our founding on February 13, 1913, Bedford Audubon has celebrated the natural heritage of the lower Hudson Valley and provided conservation excellence in the communities of northern Westchester and eastern Putnam counties. Today, Bedford Audubon continues to be the local authority on birds and habitat. We look forward to the next one hundred years as we continue to promote environmental literacy and experiential learning, conduct critical research, and protect and conserve wildlife habitat in our community while being a credible voice on local conservation issues and promoting sound environmental decision-making.

About Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch:
Perched high above Interstate 684 rests an unlikely aerie—a platform for counting and identifying thousands of migrating raptors. Each autumn, Bedford Audubon collects scientific data on raptor migration at the Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch, located on an east-facing ridge at The Nature Conservancy’s 350-acre Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary in Bedford Corners, New York.

The HawkWatch is nestled in the southern foothills of the Taconic Mountains, just 12 miles north of Long Island Sound. It offers spectacular views of the hills of Putnam County (New York) to the north; the towns of Bedford, Pound Ridge, and North Castle (New York) to the east; and Greenwich (Connecticut) and Long Island Sound to the south. The Sound acts as an invisible wall, forcing the migrating raptors into an inland bottleneck and directly over the Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch. The raptors observed here migrate from their northern breeding grounds of Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes, and northern New England to their wintering grounds in the southern United States, and Central and South America.

The Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch gradually grew from an informal gathering of hawk enthusiasts in the 1970s, to the construction of the first viewing platform in 1980 and the start of formal data collection in 1982, to the robust research and public program of today.

Core Responsibilities:
• Prepare and maintain the HawkWatch platform for the season.
• Lead the Count approximately five to six days a week, following HMANA count protocols.
• Enter data into HawkCount on a daily basis.
• Provide nature interpretation to the visiting public.
• Work with the Bedford Audubon team during to provide nature interpretation during public and school programs.
• Prepare a full written report of the season’s observations. • Additional opportunities for research and activity (e.g., communications, workshops, etc.) are available, depending on the candidate’s experience and personal goals for the Lead Counter Opportunity.
• Assist in the smooth operation of Bedford Audubon.

HawkWatch Lead Counter Opportunity Summary:

Dates: August 25 – November 22, 2017 Time Commitment: Approximately 9am-5pm, 5-6 days/week with some longer days and weeks during peak migration Pay: Regular rate is $10/hour, overtime rate (more than 40 hours/week) is $15/hour

Housing Credit:
We are pleased to offer a voluntary housing credit that includes lodging and utilities at our historic Bylane Farm in Katonah, New York. The housing credit will be applied to your hourly rate. Please inquire for details.
Job Location: Bedford Corners, New York
Required Skills & Qualities
The ideal candidate for the Lead Counter should:
• Possess keen raptor identification abilities, especially at a distance.
• Be an enthusiastic individual with a passion for environmental conservation, field biology, and raptors.
• Possess basic computer literacy, word processing, and spreadsheet literacy along with excellent written and verbal skills. Attention to detail is a must.
• Be comfortable with cheerfully communicating with the public at large, including seniors, students, and families.
• Be self-motivated and able to work successfully independently and in a supportive team atmosphere outdoors as well as in a casual yet professional office setting.

Essential functions of the position require hiking, standing outdoors for long periods at a time, and carrying 20 pounds of gear (optics, first aid kit, etc.). This is a long count, and not for the faint of heart!

The Lead Counter must provide their own binoculars and spotting scope. The Lead Counter should hold a valid driver’s license and have personal transportation. Mileage is not reimbursed.

The Lead Counter will take high-level direction from the Naturalist-in-Residence.

Education & Prior Work Experience:
• Previous experience identifying and counting raptors during migration is essential; and experience with HMANA count protocols and HawkCount submission is preferred, but not essential.
• A degree in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management, Natural Resources, or equivalent related experience is preferred.
• Experience with nature interpretation and education is desired.

To Apply:
• Email your cover letter describing your interest and personal goals for this position, résumé or curriculum vitae, and contact information for two references to Tait Johansson, Naturalist-in-Residence, at by no later than Monday July 17, 2017, but the position will remain open until filled.
• Please include “2017 HawkWatch Lead Counter Opportunity” as the email subject line.
• Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
Contact Person
Tait Johansson
Contact Phone
Contact eMail
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