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Birds Canada invites applicants as seasonal avian field technicians for the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas. These positions offer an excellent opportunity to explore wild and scenic places in Saskatchewan, and with three flyways touching the province, the birding is truly spectacular. There are two streams for the 2020 season: one in the Boreal and one in prairie/parkland. Boreal technicians can expect to spend part of the season on the water and strong paddling skills are highly desired. Prairie technicians will spend part of the season in the Great Sandhills, and may need to travel extensively in the south. Field duties for both streams involve navigating to survey locations, hiking off trail, canoeing/kayaking, enduring bugs, conducting avian point-counts, and general atlassing (searching for birds and recording as much breeding evidence as possible). Successful applicants will be enthusiastic, enjoy travel and be able to maintain a positive attitude while working long, irregular hours, often hiking off-trail for about 8 km a day.

Qualifications for both streams include:

  • Ability to work independently in remote areas, starting before sunrise, for the duration of the field season
  • Strong physical and mental endurance to complete point counts and often travel between survey areas
  • Ability to navigate off-trail in remote, densely-vegetated (or exposed on the prairies) and rugged landscapes using maps and GPS units
  • Ability to drive 4WD vehicles safely and carefully on rough, unmaintained roads
  • Ability to meticulously record and enter data
  • Eligible to work in Canada
  • Valid driver’s license

Additional Qualifications for Boreal Stream:

  • Ability to identify Boreal bird species by sight and sound
  • Strong backcountry camping skills, swift water paddling skills (especially canoe) strongly desired
  • Willingness to work in landscapes where there is the possibility of bear/moose/wolf encounters

Additional Qualifications for Prairie Stream:

  • Ability to identify grassland and parkland bird species by sight and sound
  • Well-organized and flexible to co-ordinate with other volunteers and researchers who are working in the same area to avoid duplication of survey effort
  • Strong interpersonal skills for communicating and working effectively with private landowners

The breeding bird season is short but intense, and technicians should expect long days in the field and irregular schedules, with work days largely driven by the weather. Salary is $2900-$3100/month (Cdn) and the contract length is flexible between 9-12 weeks with work beginning 15 May. Accommodations (primarily camping) and food while in the field will be covered by the project.

To apply:

Email a single document that includes a one-page cover letter describing your interest and qualifications for the position, your dates of availability, your resume, and three professional references to Dr. Kiel Drake at Positions will be filled as soon as suitable applicants are found; applications accepted until 28 February 2020. While not a requirement for the position, please indicate if you will be a returning student in Fall 2020.

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