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Job Posting: Montana, Utah, and Idaho Avian Point Count Technician 2021


Salary: $17.10 – $19.44/hour, depending on experience.

Location: Montana, Idaho and Utah, statewide


a beautiful mountain lake surrounded by spruce forest and high alpine scree and talus slopes
A view of the Sawtooth National Forest during an IMBCR survey. Photo Credit J. Boisvert

AVIAN FIELD TECHNICIANS (~20) needed for a large-scale study of breeding birds across Montana, Idaho, and Utah (approximately May 10 or May 17-July 16 for Montana, May 17-July 16 for Idaho, and May 3-July 9 for Utah – dates might shift by a few days on either side) with the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) at Boise State University. Duties consist of statewide standardized point-count surveys, vegetation surveys, and data entry using Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) protocol. Technicians will identify over 100 bird species while traveling across a wide variety of habitats including grassland, sagebrush steppe, riparian, pinyon-juniper, montane coniferous forest, and alpine. Technicians generally choose one state to work in, but there are opportunities for experienced technicians to span both states.


Qualifications include
•    Ability to identify 100+ species of western birds primarily by sound and sight
•    Ability to work independently (alone ≥90% of the time) in remote areas for the duration of the field season
•    Strong physical and mental endurance to work long days, often with extensive driving between surveys
•    Ability to navigate off-trail in remote, densely-vegetated, steep and rugged landscapes using topographical maps and GPS units
•    Willingness to work in landscapes occupied by apex predators and/or venomous wildlife (bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes)
•    Ability to carefully navigate rough, unmaintained roads in a 4WD vehicle
•    Careful and accurate data collection/entry/management
•    Strong interpersonal skills for communicating and working effectively with program managers, fellow technicians, and private landowners
•    Technicians must provide their own camping/backpacking gear.* Primitive camping, often without phone service or facilities, and some overnight backcountry travel to survey remote road-less areas will be required.

Technicians must have a valid driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, and either use their personal, 4WD vehicle (work-related mileage will be reimbursed at a rate of $0.57/mile) or IBO can provide a rental SUV. You must have your own binoculars and a laptop is required*.

*As part of an effort to remove barriers and provide more inclusive employment opportunities, we have one “gear scholarship” available for applicants who qualify based on need. Contact HeidiWare AT for more information.

Check out this blog post from an IMBCR technician employee with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. It gives a sense of how challenging and rewarding the job can be.

We strongly encourage technicians to expand their skill set of hands-on experience with other IBO projects throughout the field season. Other IBO summer research projects you could volunteer for on your days off typically include: Northern Goshawk breeding surveys and banding, hummingbird banding, Long-billed Curlew nest-searching and satellite transmitter deployment, MAPS songbird banding, Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys, and woodpecker surveys. Please browse our research page for more info. There also may be a possibility for job extension following the field season to proof data or potential for an internship at our fall migration site at Lucky Peak.

To Apply

Email a single pdf document that includes a one-page cover letter describing your interest and qualifications for the position, your dates of availability, and your experience with remote and isolated work. Also include your resume and three professional references.

For Utah/Idaho: email both Jeremy Halka (jeremyhalka AT and Jessica Pollock (jessicapollock AT

For Montana: email Christian Meny (christianmeny AT

Positions will be filled as soon as suitable applicants are found.