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by Marilene Rivas-Chavez on January 24, 2020

Job Title: Avian Field Technician

Agency: West Virginia University/U.S. Forest Service

Location: Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Job Category: Temporary/Seasonal Position

Salary: ~$2,000/month for 4 months. Housing and a field vehicle provided.

Start Date: 04/09/2020

Last Date to Apply: 1/31/2020 (but applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis, so you are encouraged to apply earlier)

Description: Seeking a highly motivated avian field technician to assist with game bird surveys from April 15 to May 10, avian point count surveys from May 15 to July 10, and post-breeding bird surveys from July 15 to Aug 15. The data will be collected as part of research on avian use of wildlife openings in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. In addition, the point count data will continue a 25-year dataset of breeding bird surveys that is being used to assess long-term changes in avian communities and abundance.

Fieldwork entails conducting evening modified singing-ground surveys for American woodcock, morning modified drumming/gobbling surveys for ruffed grouse and wild turkey, 10-minute morning point count surveys for breeding songbirds, and morning transect surveys (and possibly mist-netting surveys) for post-breeding songbirds. All survey protocols will be reviewed before conducting the surveys, but the field technician should have prior experience conducting point counts or identifying birds by sound. Additional work will include deploying autonomous recording units and game cameras, vegetation sampling, data entry, and data proofing. The technician will be working closely with the supervisor, Hannah Clipp, or another technician to access field site locations, but actual game bird and point count surveys will be conducted alone. The technician should expect to work 6–8 hours per day; because we are counting birds, field days will start early (before sunrise) and will involve work on weekends, with days off during inclement weather. Free housing and a field vehicle will be provided. The field technician should expect rugged housing accommodations (just the basics, no Internet), ranging from bunkhouses and cabins to campgrounds. First aid/CPR training and driver safety training will also be provided at no cost to the field technician.To apply, please email a cover letter, resume/CV (no page limit), and contact information for 3 references to Hannah Clipp at In your cover letter, please mention any experiences you have with birding, camping, dealing with rugged field conditions, and/or navigating and working alone in remote areas. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.


  1. Ability to identify eastern USA birds by sound and sight (required), as well as previous experience with avian point count surveys (preferred)
  2. Earned (or are working towards) a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife science, natural resources, or a similar field
  3. Ability to navigate in the field and deal with challenging, difficult terrain (a lot of steep slopes)
  4. Comfortable working alone in a remote outdoor setting
  5. Ability and willingness to work in a two- or three-person team and individually during early morning and late evening fieldwork
  6. Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record
  7. Positive, upbeat attitude and strong work ethic

Contact Person: Hannah Clipp


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