Conservation Science Bird Banding Apprenticeships at the Palomarin Field Station

Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, Bolinas, CA.
Duration: Start dates range from March 4–Mar 25, 2024 | Position is 6 months long
Deadline to Apply: January 10, 2024/No longer accepting applications
Position Type: Apprenticeships (4)

Program Description: Since 1966, we have been training early-career conservation scientists at the Palomarin Field Station through intensive field-based positions as part of a long-term ecological monitoring program focused on studying the impact of environmental change on birds. These immersive apprenticeships teach landbird research techniques and data-driven solutions to conservation challenges. Apprentices completing our program leave with a comprehensive knowledge base, including the ability to design and implement conservation research, communicate research to the public, and ensure data are incorporated effectively into data management systems and resource management planning efforts. This position has a strong emphasis on mist-netting and bird banding. Apprentices will run long-term mist netting stations ~3-6 days per week (number of days of banding varies by month and is weather dependent). The position includes early mornings and long hours in the field, followed by data entry and verification. A typical field day starts before sunrise and involves hiking 5-7 miles; the terrain has some incline and can be uneven. Apprentices will typically work 5 days per week (~40-48 hours), with two occasionally non-consecutive days off per week; however, inclement field weather (e.g. rain, wind) may result in only one day off per week (and occasional 35-50 hour work weeks). Overtime pay applies (for days > 8 hours and weeks > 40 hours).

The start and end dates for this position will be staggered across the crew. Positions last 6 months from the start date and apprentices are needed for the full duration of their season. Local housing is provided at the field station.

On non-banding days, apprentices will work on field and/or office tasks that may include vegetation surveys, working on an independent project, data entry and management, or other activities.

Palomarin’s Training Program has a global influence, having prepared over 700 people from over 20 countries for careers in academic research, applied conservation, natural resource management, and beyond. 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.

Apprentices will learn key concepts and skills in the following six areas:

  • Field methods in ecological and conservation research with emphasis on mist netting and bird banding of songbirds
  • Understanding the scientific process and the role of natural history observation in guiding meaningful research and conservation
  • Critical thinking and evaluation of research and conservation
  • Climate-smart conservation
  • Best practices in science interpretation
  • Skills in data management and data integrity

Qualifications: Desired applicants will have a strong interest in birds and conservation, and the motivation to spend long hours in the field and office. Successful applicants will have an openness to learn, and to share knowledge and skills with others. Participants must be able to work independently as well as in groups: apprentices will work closely with fellow crew members and live in a communal setting (e.g., shared bunkrooms, communal kitchen). Exposure to poison oak is unavoidable. A vehicle is not required for all positions, but some selected applicants will need a valid driver’s license, a personal vehicle, and current proof of insurance; Point Blue will conduct a motor vehicle report for insurance purposes, after hiring. Any use of a personal vehicle for field work will be reimbursed at the current federal mileage rate.

Compensation: Apprentices will be paid $18.75 per hour, plus overtime, minus a deductible for housing (determined by the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service: current rate is $60.16 per week).

To Apply: Please fill out an application at the following link In addition to answering the questions at the link provided, applicants will also upload their resumé and contact information for three references. If you have questions or issues with the application process, please contact Mike Mahoney ( by January 10, 2023.

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.

Palomarin Intern Resources