Interns will participate in research activities to estimate occupancy rates of Mexican Spotted Owls as well as other research projects pertaining to Mexican Spotted Owl population monitoring. The internship is ideal for individuals who have a strong passion for wildlife biology but are looking to gain field experience. Interns will work alongside experienced field biologists to conduct nighttime surveys for Mexican Spotted Owls in National Forests across Arizona and New Mexico. Interns will have the opportunity to gain experience conducting surveys, hone field skills (e.g. backcountry camping, navigation, etc.), and learn about owl ecology, study design, and occupancy monitoring.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conducts long-term occupancy monitoring of the Mexican Spotted owl on National Forests throughout Arizona and New Mexico. In addition, we conduct complimentary research and other projects pertaining to Mexican Spotted Owl survey methods and monitoring.
Fieldwork entails navigating to established survey locations during daylight hours by driving on remote roads and hiking on- and off-trail, often in rugged terrain. After dark, technicians follow a strict protocol of broadcasting Spotted Owl calls and listening for responses from owls at up to 5 survey points, approximately ½ to 1 km apart. Technicians hike between survey points and return to their camping locations in the dark. Campsites are usually primitive, often without cell phone service or facilities. Occasionally, overnight backpacking is required. Interns work alongside a field technician or field crew leader for training and safety reasons.
Interns must provide their own computer and hiking and camping gear, including appropriate clothing and footwear. Bird Conservancy may provide backpacking gear if needed. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies will provide the following equipment, which must be maintained in good condition: GPS, satellite and broadcast units; maps, compass and headlamp.
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
A strong work ethic and enthusiasm conducting fieldwork are necessary.
• Conduct nighttime surveys for Mexican Spotted Owls following established protocols
• Coordinate surveys with Forest Service Biologists
• Communicate regularly with Crew Leader
• Interact positively and professionally with landowners, locals and agency employees as needed
Knowledge, Skills and Experience required:
• Camping experience
• Comfortable in a backcountry setting
• Ability to hike up to 12 miles a day while carrying a backpack weighing up to 40 pounds
• Attention to detail and ability to exactly follow protocols
• Ability to learn visual and auditory identification of nocturnal birds
• Ability to travel and work with a partner for up to 10 days at a time
• Ability to maintain a positive disposition in extreme conditions
• Effective written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
• Enthusiasm for spending 3.5 months in beautiful forests and canyons
• Driver’s license and proof of insurance preferred
Physical Demands / Work Environment:
• Surveying, hiking, and navigating at night in mountainous terrain, both on- and off-trail, in variable and extreme weather conditions
• Working in areas with potentially dangerous wildlife (black bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes)
• Hiking for extended periods of time in uneven terrain carrying a backpack weighing up to 40 pounds
• Camping and/or backpacking for up to 10 consecutive nights
Employment is contingent upon the employee’s compliance with COVID-19 safety restrictions. This may include but is not limited to the following: getting a COVID test prior to starting the position, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and following National, State and Bird Conservancy COVID-19 guidelines throughout the period of employment.
Send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references IN ONE DOCUMENT (.pdf or .doc) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Name your application file as follows: Lastname_MSO2021_intern. Applications will be reviewed in January 2021 and positions will be filled as suitable applicants are found.