Research Technician – Birds and Small Mammals – Texas

: Rangeland, Wildlife & Fisheries Management, Texas A&M University
South Texas (Hebbronville and Port Mansfield)
$12 an hour
Start Date
We are currently hiring 10-11 crew members to be involved in two long-term monitoring projects that will collectively span approximately 5.5 months. This position will begin on the 1st of February and continue through mid July. Small Mammals The first project spanning 2.5 months will consist of trapping small mammals for a capture-recapture project. Previous trapping experience is preferred, however hands on training will be provided prior to trapping. Technicians must be comfortable manually removing live animals from traps, and marking them accordingly. During this time period, technicians will be required to work mornings and evenings, 5 days a week, with most weekends off. Birds The second project will span 3 months and will consist of bird point counts, productivity monitoring, and basic vegetation sampling. The East Foundation ranches have a unique bird community, consisting of desert, scrubland, tropical, coastal and migrant birds. Previous point count experience is highly preferred, though specific southern Texas bird experience is not required. For productivity monitoring, nest searching experience, patience, and good observation skills are beneficial. This part of the project will require early morning (4-5am) days typically ending at 12-1pm. Technicians will work 5 days a week with weekends off. Birds of Prey Another project focused on birds of prey and white-tailed hawk nesting will be ongoing throughout the field season. This technician must have raptor identification skills for surveys as well as flexibility to travel with the graduate student to other locations involved in the study. Previous point count experience is required, and experience maintaining nest cameras is preferred. This technician has the same duties as the rest of the crew, but will participate less with the small mammal work in order to help with this study. Location All field work will be conducted on East Foundation ranches: San Antonio Viejo and El Sauz. Further information about the East Foundation can be found at Applicants are encouraged to explore the East Foundation website, as it will be discussed during the interview. The field station is located on a large, isolated cattle ranch, primarily managed for wildlife conservation and research that is not accessible to the general public. Approximately 1/2 of the time will be spent on a second ranch, El Sauz, located on the Gulf Coast. Provided housing consists of newly remodeled bunk houses with a large kitchen and shared bathrooms on the main ranch, San Antonio Viejo. Opposite genders will be kept in separate bunk houses. At the El Sauz ranch, there is a brand new bunkhouse with shared bedrooms and multiple bathrooms, which are expected to be shared by gender as well. While living and working on the ranch you will be expected to keep common areas clean and work together as a team to be community oriented. Regular opportunities will also be provided to interact with cattle ranching personnel such that technicians will gain a better understanding of ranch management. While living on the ranch, technicians are encouraged to explore and take advantage of being given access to this unique ecosystem. Duties Small Mammal Duties include, but are not limited to: (1) establishing small mammal trapping grids, using gps, compass, and measuring tape (2) baiting traps (3) handling and marking small mammals with PIT tags (4) taking field notes (5) entering data into a database (6) and cleaning traps. 45% Birds Duties include: (1) identifying avian species by sight and sound (2) navigating point-count and productivity monitoring plots with GPS (3) attentively observing breeding behavior of birds (4) hiking up to 7 km daily through sometimes dense vegetation between sampling points (5) taking field notes, (6) and entering data into a database. 45% Technicians will also be expected to clean and maintain equipment, vehicles, and living quarters, enter and proof data for quality, occasionally prepare reports summarizing field efforts, assist graduate students with additional data collection, and other duties as assigned. 10% Applicants are expected to provide their own binoculars and field clothes, including durable, waterproof boots for work outdoors. Employees will be responsible for their own transportation between the ranches (2 hours one way). Employees expected to change ranches about once a month.
Qualifications: B.S. or B.A. in a wildlife related field. Ability to navigate using compass and GPS. Ability to collect and record accurate field data. Basic knowledge of spreadsheet and database software. Ability to work long, irregular hours, usually starting before sunrise. Ability to walk long distances carrying heavy loads. Ability and willingness to operate 4WD trucks and XUVs on and off ranch roads. Applicants should be comfortable working outside in both cold and wet, and hot and humid conditions, and working in extremely thorny vegetation among venomous snakes (snake guards provided). Should be enthusiastic about working and living closely with other technicians in remote locations. Preference will be given to applicants with proven bird identification skills. Please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references in a single PDF document to Madeleine Thornley at with the subject title “Application: Monitoring Crew 2021.”
Contact Person
Madeleine Thornley
Contact eMail
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