Volunteer Nest Searcher, western Alaska

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Nest Survey is a cooperative project between FWS Migratory Bird Management and the Yukon Delta NWR, and serves as a monitoring tool to measure recovery of the threatened spectacled eider in western Alaska. Starting in 1985, the survey also provides data on nesting phenology, nest density, distribution, and habitat selection of other waterfowl species including Emperor Geese. We are looking for one person, May 31-June 17, 2022 to join 12 others working from boats and camp sites in groups of two. Crews will use a distance sampling protocol to search for waterfowl nests in 83 clusters of transects systematically distributed within a 716 km2 study area near Hazen Bay on the central coast of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. At each nest, crews record the species, clutch size, nesting status, and stage of incubation. Data from spectacled eider nests will be integrated with aerial survey results to produce a breeding pair population estimate. This estimate will then be compared to recovery criteria specified in the Spectacled Eider Recovery Plan. This is an arduous field assignment in a remote part of Alaska. Participants must be in very good physical condition and have experience camping in remote settings. Every day, crews work long hours and walk 7-10 miles in wet vegetation and mud. Crews may experience sub-freezing temperatures, high winds, persistent precipitation and biting insects. There are no modern amenities at the field site, so crews must be prepared to thrive in the absence of electricity, running water, toilets, supplemental heat, and cellular phone coverage. Sleeping accommodations are tents, and food is cooked on camping stoves. While challenged by these rigorous conditions, participants are rewarded with an experience in the heart of one of the most productive waterfowl production areas in North America. Travel, food, and equipment will be provided by the USFWS starting from Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska. First Aid and CPR Training are required. For more information, please contact Julian Fischer 907-250-6462 julian_fischer@fws.gov or Dennis Marks 907-306-6501. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yyMEoqG0jA
Experience and familiarity with waterbirds (primarily ducks and geese but also shorebirds, loons, etc.) is very helpful. Participants must be in very good physical condition and have experience camping in remote settings.
Contact Person
Julian Fischer
Contact Phone
Contact eMail
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