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The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas towards a future where birds thrive because Audubon is a powerful, diverse, and ever-growing force for conservation. Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the hemisphere and more than 1.5 million active supporters.

North America has lost three billion birds since 1970, and more than 500 bird species are at risk of extinction across Latin America and the Caribbean. Birds act as early warning systems about the health of our environment, and they tell us that birds – and our planet – are in crisis. Together as one Audubon, we are working to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss. We do this by implementing on-the-ground conservation, partnering with local communities, influencing public and corporate policy, and building community.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon brings new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

Position Summary:
7 positions available

Positions start between May 1 and May 25 and end between August 22 and September 20, depending on site.

Audubon's Seabird Institute manages seven island research stations off the coast of Maine that support breeding colonies of Arctic, Common, Roseate, and Least Terns, Atlantic Puffins, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Laughing Gulls, Common Eiders, Leach’s Storm-Petrels, and wading birds (study species vary by island). Work includes, but is not limited to: managing multiple concurrent seabird research projects; training and supervising Research Assistants, interns, and volunteers; creating daily work schedules; monitoring seabird populations, productivity, and growth; conducting seabird diet studies; banding and resighting birds; removing invasive vegetation; educating island visitors; conducting predator management; data entry and proofing; preparing a season report; camp maintenance; and coordinating logistics with mainland staff.

Primitive camping and working on offshore islands are required. At each island, a cabin or wall tent serves as the base of field operations, and field team members sleep in their own tents. Island field stations have limited electricity (solar panels power research needs), propane stoves, composting toilets, and no running water (rainwater is collected for washing; drinking water is brought from the mainland). Communications with the mainland are via cell or VOIP phone, depending on location, with VHF radios as back-up. Island field teams consist of 2 to 5 people (depending on island and time of year) and are led by the Island Supervisor. All field team members participate in seabird research and camp maintenance duties. For the welfare of the birds, field work is highly weather-dependent. The work week may stretch across seven days. Days can be long and weekend work may be required.

Island work schedule and daily duties are determined by the Island Supervisor, following established work plans and procedures. Daily schedules will vary based on weather (no entry into the seabird colony is permitted during inclement weather to protect the nesting terns) and time of the nesting season. Daily activities may include the following: island-wide morning bird count at 0600 hours; collection of weather data three times per day; one to two 3-hour “stints” in the observation blinds for data collection; seabird trapping and banding; productivity monitoring; trail maintenance; invasive plant removal; predator control; computer data entry; daily journal log entries; and maintenance of camp facilities.

Following a brief orientation period on the mainland (shared housing provided), field teams will spend the entire field season living on-island. Food is provided. Teams working on inshore islands (less than 2 miles from the mainland; 3 of the 7 islands) will have a small motorboat and may have the ability to go ashore for food and supplies for the field station, approximately every 2-3 weeks. On offshore islands (more than 5 miles from the mainland), food and supplies will be delivered approximately every 3 weeks. Supervisors are responsible for submitting a grocery/supply list to mainland staff prior to scheduled deliveries.

Essential Functions:
  • Manage multiple concurrent seabird studies as directed by the Sanctuary Manager, which may include, but are not limited to: bird trapping, banding, and resighting; observations from blinds; conducting seabird diet studies; conducting nest censuses; monitoring productivity and growth of chicks; computer data entry; blood or specimen collection; vegetation management; predator monitoring and control;
  • Draft daily work schedules for the field station;
  • Train research assistants, interns, and volunteers on essential field and computer skills and proper use of binoculars and spotting scopes;
  • Oversee and participate in data collection and management;
  • Use binoculars and spotting scopes to aid in the collection of data;
  • Perform 3-hour-long observation stints in small wooden observation blinds overlooking seabird nests;
  • Accurately and neatly record data on specified data sheets;
  • Enter and proof data in computer databases;
  • Protect the seabird colony from human disturbance;
  • Conduct predator management or control as necessary;
  • Coordinate logistics with mainland staff;
  • Ensure personnel safety at remote field camp;
  • Safely and responsibly use power and/or row boats, ensuring all personnel wear personal flotation devices as required by NAS;
  • Maintain and properly care for NAS-issued equipment, including spotting scopes, cameras, GPS, cell phones, radios, rifles, and other research equipment;
  • Maintain electrical equipment, such as solar power systems and sound broadcasting systems, in working order;
  • Inventory all island equipment at the end of the season and report any equipment loss, breakage, or failure;
  • “Winterize” and secure the field station at season’s end and report any facility maintenance or repairs required;
  • Prepare a short (3-5 minute) field season summary for oral presentation at the August Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group meeting;
  • Write an end of season report summarizing results of field work, data collected, and management activities, for submission to the Sanctuary Manager.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Previous experience working on avian field research projects, including experience banding birds and working in remote areas;
  • Previous experience leading and training field crews is desirable;
  • Comfortable living and working in small groups on remote islands with limited amenities;
  • Excellent physical condition (capable of climbing over rugged terrain and slippery rocks and able to lift approximately 50 lbs.);
  • Wilderness camping experience;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, and to get along with people of diverse backgrounds;
  • Capable of working long hours outdoors in variable weather conditions;
  • Comfortable on the water in small boats; experience rowing and/or operating small motorboats is helpful;
  • Experience with data entry and management;
  • Experience with predator control, hunting and/or trapping is helpful;
  • Experience with the following: spotting scopes, binoculars, bird banding equipment, camping equipment (e.g. tents, camp stoves, etc.), basic hand tools (e.g. hammer, drill driver, etc).
  • A sense of humor, dedication to wildlife conservation, and interest in seabirds and isolated islands.
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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