Field Technicians and Crew Leaders for Nest Searching and Point Counts – New Mexico

Southern Sierra Research Station
Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area in northwest New Mexico, and in the Black Range of the Gila Mountains, New Mexico
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
$2,000-$2,500/month DOE and position (field technician, crew leader). Shared housing and field vehicles are provided
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is looking for four field technicians and two crew leaders to conduct nest searches, point-counts, and Pinyon Jay surveys in pinyon-juniper (P-J) woodlands. Five days a week, technicians and the crew leaders will search for nests of target species and monitor located nests at regular intervals to assess survival, productivity, and detect re-nest attempts. Songbird point-counts and pinyon jay surveys will be conducted within the study sites approximately once per month. Daily, staff will record field data on android tablets, sync the collected data with the online database once they return to the field house, and then proof (QA/QC) the collected data. Vegetation surveys will be conducted at nest and random locations after the nests have fledged and the birds dispersed. Qualified staff with previous pinyon-juniper (P-J) bird survey experience will also conduct point-count surveys for all birds present. The primary nest-searching species include: Pinyon Jays, Juniper Titmouse, Gray Vireo, Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow and Western Bluebird. Nesting and breeding data on additional P-J bird species may also be collected to ensure that the study generates an adequate sample size for data analysis. Field work will be conducted in the Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area in northwest New Mexico (near San Luis and Cuba, NM), and in the Black Range of the Gila Mountains west of Truth or Consequences, NM. Elevation ranges from 6500 to 8000 feet and encompasses a habitat gradient of savanna up to persistent P-J woodland. Surveys will start at or before dawn. Across the field season the variable weather (rainy, cloudy, and sunny) and temperatures (cool mornings to hot afternoons) are expected. The surveys will require off-road, off-trail navigation using maps, compass, aerial images, and gps units. Shared housing and field vehicles will be provided, but use of a personal vehicle may be requested (mileage will be reimbursed). Covid-19 Precautions: While this work will be conducted in relatively remote areas where potential exposure to the virus should be minimal, field staff will follow SSRS and NM state safety protocols. Hired applicants may be required to quarantine and have a negative Covid-19 test prior to the start date.
• Patience and persistent observation needed to follow individual birds and carefully locate nests are essential. Training for all nest-searching and survey protocols will be provided, but prior bird identification skills are required, and previous experience nest searching experience preferred. • Applicants with prior nest searching experience and/or experience with pinyon-juniper birds will be given preference. • All field staff will search for and monitor nests, but technicians also interested in conducting point-count surveys must be able to identify pinyon-juniper associated birds, by sight and sound. • Familiarity with western flora, a valid driver's license, and attention to detail is a must. • Applicants must be comfortable using electronic devices (gps units, tablets) to navigate and collect data, and be responsible to ensure the devices are charged every night. • Applicants must be in good physical condition, as long hours in the field will be required in sometimes difficult terrain. Applicants must be confident working and navigating in a remote wooded area. • The applicant is expected to work well as a team member, and independently, to accomplish project tasks on schedule. • The applicant is expected to take the Covid-19 pandemic seriously and act accordingly to minimize potential exposure to the virus. Application review will begin on January 20, 2021 and continue until the positions are filled. Applicants should email a single file (word or pdf) which includes 1) a cover letter stating their interest in the position and dates of availability, 2) a resume, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of three references to: John Stanek at the following email address: Include your name and "NM PJ Birds" in the file name of your attachment (e.g. Darwin_C_NM PJ Birds.doc) and in your email subject line. The Southern Sierra Research Station ( is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Contact Person
John Stanek
Contact eMail
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