Avian Ecologist

­­­­­Location: Flexible and negotiable, but must be in Northern California in proximity to the Northern Sierra Nevada.

Classification: Fully remote

Deadline to Apply: 02/29/2024

Position Type: Full-Time, Exempt

Compensation and Benefits:  $67,833 – $70,192. Annually based on experience. Point Blue provides a comprehensive benefit package including employer paid medical and dental for staff and 75% for dependents. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term care, long and short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and retirement plans as well as time off benefits.

About Point Blue:

Point Blue Conservation Science is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our mission and programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture. We have a proven track record of scientific excellence.

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

Job Summary:

The Avian Ecologist manages field work for ecological research, monitoring, and restoration projects, primarily focused on avian conservation in the Sierra Nevada. This position provides project leadership and logistical support for field work being completed, including hiring, training, and coordination of seasonal staff while ensuring adherence to policies, protocols and regulations and simultaneously providing a nurturing and team-oriented work environment. This position involves field work and data collection. This position maintains data storage systems, analyzes data, and writes annual reports.

Essential Functions:
Leadership: 40%

  • Plans, designs, and directs the work of seasonal staff involved in performing research and monitoring projects.
  • Hires, trains, and mentors seasonal staff members. Provides a nurturing, fun and team-oriented work environment.
  • Leads teams in the successful completion of field work, including avian point counts, vegetation surveys, capturing and banding birds, and other ecological data collection.
  • Helps plan and coordinate various meadow restoration activities including revegetation.
  • Assigns duties and monitors adherence to data collection, other field protocols, and safety standards.
  • Ensures consistent and reliable standardized data of the highest quality are gathered and entered each year.
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback. Meets with teams to identify and resolve problems.
  • Continuously monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of methods and procedures; identifies opportunities for improvement and reviews with higher level staff; directs the implementation of improvements.
  • Effectively facilitates regular staff meetings.

Field Work and Research: 40%

  • Participates in the successful completion of field work, including counting birds and vegetation, deploying autonomous recording units, capturing and banding birds, and various restoration activities.
  • Enters data into databases.
  • Validates data to ensure accuracy. Scans and archives data and makes it available for analyses.
  • Participates in analysis and reporting of data and study findings.
  • Maintains current knowledge of data collection techniques used in projects they oversee.
  • Maintains, inventories, and purchases field gear for research including scientific and field station supplies.
  • Responsible for securing rental vehicles and seasonal housing for field crews and ensuring they are maintained.
  • Participates in intra- and inter-organizational studies, and identifies and provides commentary on new approaches, research opportunities and conservation planning.

Fundraising: 10%

  • Participates in identifying and obtaining funding for projects including proposal preparation.
  • Prioritizes, schedules, and coordinates work tasks necessary to complete proposals.
  • Communicates results to funders, the public, partners, other scientists, and environmental policy decision makers to support conservation.

Other Duties as Assigned: 10%

  • Interacts with the local science community to represent Point Blue; attends meetings, workshops and symposia to disseminate Point Blue science.
  • Maintains positive relationships with key external partners to ensure access to private and government owned land.
  • Performs special projects and research as assigned.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibility:

  • Provides supervision and training to seasonal field technicians.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Strong knowledge of avian scientific research methods and techniques and their application to resource conservation and management activities.
  • Strong knowledge of ornithology and life history of birds, in particular western forest birds is desired.
  • Strong knowledge of data management best practices.
  • Advanced skills in supervising and training field crews.
  • Advanced skills operating computer programs including Microsoft Office and ArcGIS; proficiency in R is desirable.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including preparing and delivering presentations.
  • Knowledge of basic classification, identification, life histories, breeding biology, ecology, habits and geographic distribution of plants, and/or other wildlife taxa, especially of western forests is desired.
  • Knowledge of the Sierra Nevada ecosystem, especially its avifauna is desired.
  • Knowledge of GIS systems and data including procedures and best practices.
  • Knowledge of statistics and skills analyzing data sets.
  • Ability to prioritize, plan, schedule and coordinate work processes necessary to carry out assignments.
  • Ability to work well with others and foster relationships.
  • Ability to problem solve and figure out complex logistics.
  • Ability to read, understand, interpret, and utilize maps, administrative and technical reports and data, ordinances, codes, regulations, and other materials relevant to conducting scientific studies.
  • Ability to learn to implement scientific field protocols by reading documentation and listening to verbal instructions. Ability to interpret and apply federal, state, and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations pertaining to performance of scientific research.
  • Ability to maintain effective communication from remote locations using all possible forms of communication, including radios, satellite telephones, instant messaging, and email.
  • Ability to work effectively and positively with outside partners.
  • Ability to use a variety of field equipment that may include geographic positioning systems, binoculars, radios, bird banding tools, measurement tools, wildlife tracking systems and other scientific equipment.
  • Knowledge of restoration science and techniques.
  • May require the skill to operate off-highway vehicles, and to use a variety of tools and equipment for repair, maintenance and operations of equipment and facilities.

Certifications and/or Licenses:

  • Valid California driver’s license and favorable driving history, and proof of auto insurance.
  • Possession of, or ability and willingness to obtain, all relevant certificates, permits, or licenses to conduct the required activities. These may include wilderness first aid, CPR, hazardous materials training, banding and scientific collection permits.
  • Possesses necessary qualifications to be placed on Point Blue permits to work with endangered bird species when appropriate.

Preferred Education and Experience:

  • This position requires a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, zoology, ornithology, geography with a biological or ecological focus, or related field; and 3 years of field experience working with birds, other wildlife, or related field. Master’s degree preferable.

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

  • This position operates in a professional office environment and in remote field locations with uneven terrain, limited vehicle access, limited cell phone reception, and sometimes in a solitary capacity.
  • Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets
  • Field season work environment is primarily outdoors with the majority of time spent driving, hiking and sitting, often in inclement weather conditions.
  • Off-season work environment is primarily indoors with the majority of time spent sitting at a desk.
  • Ability to hike in uneven terrain while carrying gear and/or backpack.
  • Ability to operate an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV).
  • Ability to use standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets.
  • Ability to stand, bend, stoop, sit, walk, twist, and turn
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds occasionally

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Travel:

  • This is a full-time position.
  • Days and hours of work vary depending on season, fieldwork, and timeline requirements.
  • Evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.
  • Substantial travel is expected for this position, primarily during the field season (late April—August); up to 4 nights per week, averaging 1-2 nights.

To Apply: Please click here. You will be asked to upload a resume/CV and cover letter. If you encounter difficulties with the application, please contact

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.