Three Rooker Island Shorebird Monitoring and Stewardship Coordinator
Pinellas County, FL
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From April through October, the Three Rooker Island Shorebird Monitoring and Stewardship Coordinator is the Audubon coastal bird biologist primarily responsible for assisting Florida Park Service staff with beach-nesting bird monitoring and stewardship work at sites in Pinellas County, Florida. Stewardship activities will be conducted on Three Rooker Island, part of Anclote Key Preserve State Park. Surveys and monitoring will be conducted on all islands within Anclote Key Preserve State Park (Three Rooker Island, Anclote Key, and Anclote Bar) and within Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park. At these sites, the coordinator is responsible for assisting Park staff with:
•Posting symbolic fencing and signage around beach-nesting bird sites and maintaining said posting;
•Monitoring and surveying nest sites weekly for evidence of disturbance or predation;
•Performing formal nesting bird surveys weekly including during five formal, one-week time windows (including color band re-sighting);
•Non-breeding shorebird surveys and band re-sightings, especially focused on state and federally listed species;
•Data entry, record-keeping, and reporting as directed by supervisor and by Park staff; and helping protect sites from disturbance through stewardship activities requiring motorboat transportation to and from Three Rooker Island, to include organizing and working closely with volunteers to chaperon beach-nesting bird colonies during busy warm-weather weekends and major holidays, educating beach-goers about these species, encouraging compliance with posted areas, and engaging in outreach to user groups as directed by supervisor.
This position performs coastal bird surveys for breeding and non-breeding waterbirds and re-sights color-banded birds, especially snowy plovers, piping plovers and red knots, assists with posting and maintaining symbolic fencing, assists with volunteer recruitment and management, training and appreciation, operates an Audubon motorboat to provide transportation for bird stewards to and from Three Rooker Island on weekend days and major holidays, and helps conduct outreach to key user groups impacting coastal birds.
This position is funded as full-time seasonal with a start date of April 8, 2019 and ending in October of 2019, determined in consultation with supervisor and Park staff. This seasonal position is funded through Fall 2020 with future funding possible. The Stewardship Coordinator will be based out of their home in the Tampa Bay area. This is an exciting seasonal position for a professional biologist with shorebirds/seabird survey skills, as well as experience with solo operation of small vessels in near-shore marine waters subject to tides, strong currents, and inclement weather. Wet landings are required to disembark passengers at several islands.
With direction from the Project Manager for Pinellas Bird Stewardship and designated Florida Park staff, the coordinator will ensure all sites are:
•Surveyed weekly, including during the monthly state-prescribed beach-nesting bird survey windows;
•Posted with symbolic fencing and signage by posting deadlines;
•Monitored weekly for signs of disturbance and changes in nesting status;
•Stewarded to the terms of Audubon’s contract.
Additional functions include the following:
•Entering survey data and band re-sights into the Florida Shorebird Database or Access database as directed by the supervisor or Park staff within two weeks following the survey date;
•Contribute survey and stewardship summaries required for grant report submissions;
•Contribute photographs and short stories about birds and bird stewardship for use on Audubon website and in social media;
•Responsible for periodic cleaning and maintenance of program vehicles, trailers, and boats as needed;
•Mentor and manage volunteers engaged in monitoring and stewardship activities;
•Engage the public around coastal bird conservation through outreach at beach sites and through presentations to user groups.
This position is required to work independently and in partnership with designated Florida Park Service staff or with another full-time staff, as part of a team of bird stewards on weekends and holidays, and will be responsible for solo operation of boats to access offshore barrier island sites for survey work, posting, and stewardship.
Qualifications and Experience
•Bachelor's degree in biology, wildlife ecology or related field required.
•Demonstrated experience, satisfactory to Audubon, in solo operation of a motorboat in near-shore marine waters with wet landings;
•1-2 years' demonstrated expertise in shorebird and seabird identification and performing waterbird surveys a must;
•Strong verbal communication skills and demonstrated ability to work independently, with minimal supervision;
•Must have a valid driver's license and a personal vehicle suited for transportation to complete assigned tasks;
•Demonstrated experience working with partners and volunteers, as well as operating and maintaining equipment including boats, trucks and trailers;
•Demonstrated experience with performing field work in challenging coastal marine conditions.
•Familiarity with coastal conservation lands of Gulf Coast Pinellas County a plus;
•Must be able to lift and carry 30 lbs., walk up to 4 miles on beach sand carrying spotting scope and day pack, work long days and weekends, as needed, in Florida summer field conditions.