Avian Ecology Field Assistant Positions



Dr. Kathy Martin’s lab is looking to fill research assistant positions for three distinct projects this summer (May-mid-August, 2015). Our lab is primarily focused on avian ecology and conservation of alpine and cavity nesting species. We are interested in highly motivated, enthusiastic individuals willing to work long, irregular hours with minimal time off (~ 1 day/week). Applicants must be comfortable in outdoor conditions (poor weather, biting insects, and bears!) and physically fit to hike in a rugged, montane environment. This is an opportunity to take part in exciting, meaningful research, gain valuable field experience, and spend your summer in BC’s beautiful back country. Experience with bird ID, nest searching, and handling birds is beneficial. A valid BC driver’s license is a must and preference will be given to undergrad students willing to apply for a NSERC-USRA. Salary: ~$2000/mo dependent on experience. The three projects are as follows:

Elevational variation in the life-histories of Dark-eyed Juncos

Location: Revelstoke, BC

Outline: We conduct experiments and observations aimed at testing hypotheses about how high and low elevation birds allocate their resources differently, the implication of these decisions, and what some of the main differences are in constraints on breeding. Tasks include copious amounts of nest searching in mountainous terrain, capturing and handling juncos, behavioural observations, vegetation surveys, radio-telemetry, and data entry.

Project specific skills: Mist-netting and bird handling experience is an asset. High elevation work is conducted on skis for much of the season so experience backcountry skiing is also an asset. The ability to drive a standard transmission is required by start of employment.

Apply to: Jennifer Greenwood (jengrejgw@gmail.com)

Breeding and foraging ecology of the endangered Williamson’s Sapsucker

Location: Merritt and Okanagan Falls, BC

Outline: Williamson’s Sapsuckers are severely affected by habitat loss. The main objective is to improve management practices by defining the foraging habitat needs of the species. Also, since the species has been under-studied, we describe its general breeding and foraging ecology.

Project specific skills: Must be physically fit and comfortable with hiking in the forest all day, working independently. Experience in radio-telemetry is an asset. Experience with bird identification by sight and calls; experience with reading color bands at a distance is preferable. Motivation to learn!

Apply to: Julien St-Amand (julien.st-amand@alumni.ubc.ca)

Nestling development in an alpine population of Horned Larks

Location: Smithers, BC (1500-2100m alpine tundra)

Outline: With climate change, environmental variability and predation risk are increasing and understanding the capacity of avian species to respond is critical. We conduct predator presentations at nests to measure changes in nestling stress, development, and parental behaviour. Also, geolocators will be deployed to map migration. Project specific skills: Experience handling, measuring and banding birds are beneficial, but enthusiasm to learn proper technique is most desirable. I am particularly open to USRA applicants willing to discuss project ideas.

Apply to: Devin de Zwaan (drdezwaan@gmail.com)

Send CV, letter of interest, and 2 references to your project of interest.

Please put “Application for (species name) research assistant” in email’s subject line