Seasonal Avian Field Biologist

Institute for Wildlife Studies

San Clemente Island, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details ~$3,671 per month
Deadline Dec 10, 2023
A pair of San Clemente Loggerhead Shrikes

Job Description: The Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS) is seeking applicants for seasonal avian field biologists to assist with the release and monitoring of the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike (SCLS), a federally endangered, endemic subspecies on San Clemente Island (SCI), California. SCI is the southernmost of the California Channel Islands, located 68 miles off the coast of San Diego. These are approximately 6.5-month positions mid-February and running through August. 

Field Biologist duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Nest searching and monitoring;
  • Behavioral observation and color-band re-sighting of wild and captive shrikes;
  • Releasing captive-origin shrikes, and providing supplemental food to captive and released shrikes;
  • Trapping and banding (depending on permitting qualifications) nestling and adult shrikes;
  • Cage construction and maintenance;
  • Data management in Microsoft Access and Excel, and in ArcView GIS; and,
  • Day-to-day upkeep of the field station and IWS equipment.

Qualifications: We are seeking enthusiastic biologists with strong fieldwork and research backgrounds who are committed to conservation and applied ecology. This position requires extreme patience, sharp observation skills using spotting scopes and binoculars, and the ability to hike daily in steep, rugged terrain.

Because this work is conducted on a military installation, each applicant must be a citizen of the United States or be covered under a TN NAFTA work visa and possess (or be willing to acquire before the position starts) a valid U.S. driver’s license. In addition, the Navy will perform a post-hire background check before issuing a base access credential.

Applicants should have earned a B.S. in wildlife biology, ecology or a related field and have experience with avian biology.

Preferred qualifications include experience with:

  • At least one season of nest searching and monitoring.
  • Behavioral observations of color-banded passerines.
  • Operating 4-wheel drive vehicles on primitive roads.

Applicants should be in excellent physical condition and be comfortable hiking alone for 3–5 miles with a 30–40 pound pack in steep, rocky, cactus-covered terrain and in temperatures ranging from 40–100°F. 

SCI is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy as a training facility, and personnel will be required to follow established military protocols and rules, including keeping a clean and organized work and living space.

Applicants should enjoy living as part of a small research community in a busy field station, interacting with biologists working on other projects, and working with military personnel and members of other organizations who may have varying missions, opinions, and personalities.  Additionally, applicants must be willing to participate in the day-to-day upkeep of a busy field station, including cleaning work vehicles and shared kitchen/office space. Flights on and off the island are provided at no cost. All employment offers are contingent on the insurability of the applicant by IWS and applicants will be asked to provide information to verify their driving record.  Additional information regarding IWS research on SCI is available on the IWS website (www.iws.org).  Note: No pets are allowed on SCI.

Compensation: The work schedule is 10 days on San Clemente Island, and 4 days off (off-island), which averages 40 hours of work a week. Compensation is based on an hourly rate of $16.90/hr. However, scheduled overtime results in average gross earnings of approximately $3,671 per month.

Additional compensation includes:

  • On-island housing.
  • Food stipend of $12.50/day on island (reimbursable).
  • Fully stocked kitchen with some Navy-supplied food items.
  • Benefits including employer-paid health insurance, sick leave, and paid holidays.

Off-island housing during days off is not provided.    


Please send a single PDF file containing a combined:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume or CV
  • Names and contact information for 3 professional references with telephone number, email, and work address

Please send application materials to Caleb Arellano at iwsjobs@iws.org and indicate “Shrike Biologist Application” in the subject heading.  Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received and we therefore encourage interested individuals to apply promptly.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Wildlife
Tags GIS, Ornithology