Jobs with MRBO

The following positions are open for the 2018 field season: 

1)The Missouri River Bird Observatory is seeking two Grassland Bird Technicians for line-transect surveys and nest-searching/monitoring from 9 May – 15 July, 2018. MRBO’s grasslands project is entirely conservation-focused, and target species include some of the most precipitously declining birds in North America.
After a training period, technicians will conduct surveys by 400-m transect that document all bird species by sight and sound. The transect surveys involve covering more than 50,000 acres on some 40 public and private grasslands throughout western Missouri, from the Iowa border down to Joplin. Surveys are conducted from approximately 14 May to the end of June. Additionally, from mid-May to mid-July, nest-searching and monitoring take place at Taberville Prairie near El Dorado Springs, where shared housing is provided in a very nice home.

All survey and nest-monitoring data are collected on iPads using ArcGIS Collector; no additional data entry is needed once field work has concluded for the day. This is a good opportunity for gaining experience working in a threatened habitat and employing innovative technology for conservation purposes in the ArcGIS On-line platform.

Qualifications:

  • Excellent grassland bird ID by sight and sound, with proficiency in other habitats.
  • Patience for searching for hard-to-locate nests.
  • A strong conservation ethic.
  • Outgoing, professional demeanor with ability to interact with agency staff, private landowners and members of the general public.
  • Flexibility to work within changing logistics and live in close quarters with a small group.
  • Good physical condition, stamina and ability to handle hot weather, ticks and chiggers.

The grassland bird breeding season is a short but intense field season where at least 6 days/week of work are needed. Some travel by personal vehicle throughout western Missouri is required.  

Compensation is $1400-1600/month DOE, mileage reimbursement for personal vehicle use at $0.35/mile, and shared housing with all utilities. Camping may be required while on the road, which may be several nights in a row. Cost of camping and, in the case of inclement weather, motel stays will also be reimbursed. The home base housing in El Dorado Springs has internet access, clothes washer, and free access to the community recreation center. If time allows, the technicians may also have the opportunity to work on other MRBO projects or outreach events.

Please send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to dana.ripper@mrbo.org with a cc to erik.ost@mrbo.org and ethan.duke@mrbo.org. Please address your qualifications as listed above. Deadline is February 15th, 2018 but applications will be reviewed as they are received.

2) The Missouri River Bird Observatory (MRBO) seeks two Wetland Bird Survey Technicians from 26 March – 30 June 2018. Following a week training period in central Missouri, the technicians will conduct transect surveys by sight and sound in private marshes (approx. 60 sites) throughout the entire state. Target species include the very rare King, Black, Virginia and Yellow Rails and Least and American Bitterns, all species of high conservation concern, but all birds are documented.

All survey data are collected on iPads using ArcGIS Collector with no additional data entry needed. Once field work has concluded each morning, technicians upload the Collector data and photographs of the surveyed property, followed by contacting the landowner and scoping the next day’s survey site. Most of the field season is spent on the road, working alone or in a pair, so technicians must be independent and intrepid, but the rewards of doing wetland surveys are substantial. This is a great opportunity to contribute to private lands conservation while encountering rare and elusive birds in beautiful, tranquil, and often remote wetlands. It will also provide valuable experience with project logistics and employing innovative technology for conservation purposes in the ArcGIS On-line platform.

Applicants must:

  • have outstanding, demonstrated bird ID skills to include shorebirds, waterfowl, marshbirds and passerines (over 200 species, some very unusual, have been detected on the wetland survey project. Please do not apply if you do not have extensive in-field bird ID experience!)
  • have experience working independently with a reliable, responsible work ethic.
  • be able to present an amiable, professional face to private landowners on whom this project depends.
  • be comfortable traveling extensively for three months and camping alone or as part of a team of two.
  • maintain a good attitude in the face of logistics that are almost constantly in flux.
  • be able to handle heat, very early mornings and sometimes gnats and snakes, but the marshes are typically free from mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers.
  • be comfortable wading through emergent marsh habitat in chest waders as well as having to occasionally kayak or canoe into sites that are difficult to access.

This project is conducted in partnership with state and federal agencies and represents a significant contribution to the conservation of wetland birds in Missouri. Compensation is $1600-1800/month DOE plus $0.35/mile reimbursement for personal vehicle use and camping/lodging expenses. If time allows, the technicians may also have the opportunity to work on other MRBO projects or outreach events.

Please send a letter of interest addressing the qualifications listed above, resume/CV, and contact information for three references to dana.ripper@mrbo.org and ethan.duke@mrbo.org. Experienced birders with great ID skills but no formal survey experience are welcome to apply. Application deadline is February 15th, 2018 but applications will be reviewed as they are received.