Sierra Nevada Bird Monitoring Positions

Front and backcountry positions available

Crew leaders and technicians needed (10 positions total) for avian point count and vegetation surveys in the Sierra Nevada of California, including wilderness areas, with Point Blue Conservation Science. Individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Duration: 26 April through 6 August, 2021 (start and end date may be flexible DOE)

Description: This program offers a unique opportunity to explore and observe birds in some of the most beautiful landscapes in California, across a wide range of habitats, while collecting data to guide management and restoration in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades. Field work covers a vast profile of elevations in coniferous forest, post-fire, aspen, oak, meadow, and chaparral habitats. Southern Sierra positions will include surveys in the Yosemite backcountry, Ansel Adams and Golden Trout Wilderness areas to understand the effects of implementing a more robust managed wildfire program in the Sierra; and to help guide meadow restoration priorities in the Kern River watershed.

Primary duties include, but are not limited to: Conducting multiple-species avian point counts, vegetation and habitat surveys, deploying bat automated recording units, broadcast surveys, data entry, navigating cross-country in mountainous terrain and driving company-leased 4×4 vehicles. Two positions in the Lassen area will run and/or assist, DOE, with banding and extracting birds at two MAPS stations. Four positions in the Yosemite area will be backpacking into wilderness areas. Work weeks vary from 5-6 days and are typically 40-50 hours, but vary from 35-60 hours.

Compensation: Positions pay an hourly wage of $14-18/hour DOE with overtime pay according to California State law. Shared housing and utilities are included at a cost of $202/month. Housing locations are subject to change, but we plan to have three crews based in the Lassen, Tahoe and Yosemite areas. Housing may be shared with technicians working on multiple Point Blue projects in the Sierra Nevada. Work vehicles are provided.

Covid-19 precautions: We expect crew leaders and technicians to follow Point Blue safety protocols, including any local and state mandates to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Hired applicants may be required to quarantine and have a negative COVID-19 test prior to start date.


  • Previous experience identifying multiple bird species by sight and sound is required, preferably in the Western U.S. and using point count methods.
  • All candidates must feel confident in their ability to hike and navigate cross-country in steep, mountainous terrain often with dense shrub cover.
  • Crew leader candidates need previous supervisory experience and experience teaching bird identification.
  • Southern Sierra candidates must have previous backpacking experience, preferably working in a backcountry setting.
  • All successful candidates must be able to identify over 75 bird species by sight and sound following 2-3 weeks of training. We will provide species lists, audio recordings and links to learning resources before positions begin.
  • We require self-motivation, enthusiasm for travel and camping, good sense of direction, the ability to cope with inclement weather, willingness to spend long hours in the field observing birds and plants 5-6 days/week and the ability to work well independently and in a group living situation.
  • Most positions require significant driving between remote sites (sometimes up to 2-4 hours traveling per day) and front-country car-camping up to 5-6 days/week.
  • Successful applicants will need a valid U.S. driver’s license, at least two years of driving experience, and will be asked to provide information to verify their good driving record. Work vehicles are provided.

To apply: Send a single document (PDF preferred, or Word Doc) including a cover letter describing previous multiple species point count experience and experience working as part of a team, interest in this position (including location or crew leader role), specific dates of availability,  a resume, and contact information for three references to Alissa Fogg  (afogg AT pointblue DOT org). In the subject line type: Sierra Bird Crew 2021. Only those qualified applicants who we desire to interview will be contacted starting December 14. Qualified candidates will be hired as they are identified.

Point Blue is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

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.