Duration: Most internships begin on about May 20th and end on August 15th.
Location: Southern and mid-coast Maine at an island field camp
Housing: Housing and meals are provided (see details below)
For more info: National Audubon Maine Coast seabird nesting sanctuaries
Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program operates seven island field stations along the Maine coast as critical seabird nesting sanctuaries. Research Interns will work under the direction of the Island Supervisor, participating in all aspects of seabird research, monitoring, and management that take place at the field station. The majority of research projects focus on studying the nesting success and foods fed to seabird (tern and alcid) chicks, with most work focusing on terns. Work includes, but is not limited to: conducting population censuses, monitoring productivity and chick growth; conducting seabird diet studies; banding and resighting birds; removing invasive vegetation; educating island visitors; and assisting with predator management.
Research Interns will live on island (a single island or group of islands) for the duration of the field season. Interns assigned to inshore islands will have occasional trips to the mainland for logistics and resupplying the field camp, returning to the islands to work and sleep. On offshore islands, food, supplies, and mail are delivered approximately every 2 weeks. Research Interns will remain offshore for approximately eleven weeks. In a seabird colony, the birds are loud, and the terns will dive-bomb you when you move through the colony. Living conditions on the islands are primitive. A cabin or wall tent serves as the base of field operations, and field team members sleep in their own tents (wooden tent platforms provided). 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 available as a back-up mode of communication. There is no Internet access. Cooking, cleaning, and camp maintenance duties are shared by all island team members. Food is provided.
Responsibilities: Participate in seabird studies including, but 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;
- Use binoculars and spotting scopes to aid in the collection of data as specified by the Island Supervisor;
- 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;
- Educate occasional island visitors about seabird natural history and our work on the island;
- Protect the seabird colony from human disturbance;
- Conduct predator management or control as necessary under the direction of the Island Supervisor;
- Maintain field equipment and facilities as directed by the Island Supervisor;
- Conduct trail maintenance and invasive plant removal;
- Assist Island Supervisor with landing of equipment and new personnel on the island;
- Operate power or row boats under guidance of Island Supervisor. Use of personal flotation devices is mandatory;
- Maintain and properly care for NAS-issued equipment, including but not limited to: spotting scopes, cameras, GPS, cell phones, radios, and other research equipment;
- Assist with inventory of all island equipment and closing of the field station at the end of the season;
- When on the mainland: procure supplies; pack groceries, research supplies, and mail in waterproof island transport bags; clean and fill water jugs for supplying research stations; assist with cleaning and storing equipment at the end of the season; assist mainland-based staff as needed.
Applicants should be an upper level undergraduate working towards a B.S. in biology, conservation biology, or a related field. Previous field experience, especially with birds, is preferred. Career goals should include a career in conservation biology. Applicants must be in excellent physical condition (capable of climbing over rugged terrain and slippery rocks and able to lift approximately 50 lbs.) and have wilderness camping experience. Must be willing to get dirty while working and living outside (showers are a luxury, not a daily occurrence) and be capable of working long hours outdoors in variable weather conditions. Must be able to work independently and with others as part of a team, and get along with people of diverse backgrounds. Adaptability to ever-changing circumstances is a must, as daily schedules are weather dependent. Must be able to sit in a small blind for three hours and maintain focus on data collection; reading and listening to music while in the blind collecting data are not permitted. A sense of humor, willingness to learn, dedication to wildlife conservation, and interest in seabirds and isolated islands are basic requirements. Previous experience with bird banding, rowing, and hunting/trapping are helpful, but not necessary. Must provide own binoculars, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, daypack, and water bottle. General camping equipment such as dishes, pots and pans is provided.
Funding: $6000 - Student will receive approximately $3000 during the course of the summer through bi-weekly payments from Audubon. Remainder of funds covers instruction, room, board, worker's compensation insurance coverage, and transportation from the mainland base to and from the research sites.
Although funding is dispersed through Adubon students must still complete MHC UAF System.
How to Apply: Students must apply to this position through LyonNet by Midnight February 22nd. Students must provide a resume, cover letter, and 3-page writing sample. These can be uploaded to LyonNet.
(Letters of Recommendation should be send directly to Danielle Van Over)
About the Organization:
The National Audubon Society Seabird Restoration Program (SRP) had its beginnings in 1973 (as Project Puffin) with an effort to restore puffins to an historic nesting island, Eastern Egg Rock, in the Gulf of Maine. Through this successful effort, seabird restoration techniques were developed, including the use of decoys, mirrors, and sound recordings to attract birds to the islands. In Maine, Audubon used these techniques to restore terns and alcids to seven historic nesting islands. Today, these islands are staffed during the summer breeding season to study and protect the breeding birds. Restoration techniques developed in Maine are now used worldwide to restore seabirds to historic breeding grounds.