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Job Posting: Yellow-billed Cuckoo Technician

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO TECHNICIANS (4) needed for Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys in southeastern Idaho (mid-June to mid-August) with the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) at Boise State University. There is also potential for a selected technician to conduct woodpecker surveys for two weeks prior to the start of the cuckoo field season (~June 1st−14th) as part of a separate IBO project, if available and interested.

View of the Snake River, where cuckoo surveys await. Photo Credit: Stephanie Coates

The western designated population segment of Yellow-billed Cuckoos is listed as Threatened under the ESA and we are contributing to range-wide surveys to better assess statewide status. Primary duties consist of standardized broadcast-call surveys, riparian vegetation assessment, and data entry using the USFWS Yellow-billed Cuckoo Survey protocol. Technicians will conduct surveys for cuckoos along riparian corridors and record eBird checklists during surveys on public land to increase knowledge of avian communities in riparian habitat in Idaho. Some surveys will be conducted on foot, and others will be accessed by kayak. Attending a USFWS sanctioned Yellow-billed Cuckoo Survey training is mandatory. Technicians who already have this training are encouraged to apply, however IBO will provide training opportunities to technicians who lack a formal training.

These are full time positions for the duration of the project (mid-June through early-mid August) and technicians must be able to start on June 15th. Hourly pay rate is approximately $17.10/hr. Technicians must have a valid driver’s license and either use their personal vehicle (high-clearance and ability to mount kayak racks if needed is a plus) or IBO can provide a rental SUV. Work-related mileage on personal vehicles will be reimbursed at the standard state rate ($0.57/mile). Housing or a campsite will be provided (location TBD).

IBO conducts research and partners with numerous organizations and agencies world-wide. We strongly encourage our technicians to expand their skill set via hands-on experience with other IBO projects.

To apply:

Email a single pdf document that includes a one-page cover letter describing your interest and qualifications for the position, your resume, and three professional references to Stephanie Coates (stephaniecoates AT Positions will be filled as qualified candidates are identified.


  • Available to begin on June 1st (if participating on woodpecker project) or June 15th (tentative, for cuckoo project only) and attend mandatory two-day Yellow-billed Cuckoo training
  • Have binoculars, cell phone, and laptop computer*
  • Ability to identify Western birds by sight and by sound
  • Ability to work independently (alone ≥60% of the time) for the duration of the field season
  • Strong physical and mental endurance to complete early-morning surveys and work strenuous days often in dense riparian vegetation
  • Ability to navigate off-trail, densely-vegetated riparian landscapes using maps and GPS units
  • Willingness to work in landscapes occupied by predators (bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes), other large animals (moose), and mosquitos
  • Safe driving in all conditions including some stretches of rough, dirt roads
  • Candidates who are willing to drive their personal vehicle (mileage will be reimbursed) are preferred, but alternatively, IBO can provide a rental vehicle
  • Ability to kayak safely and comfortably
  • Careful and accurate data collection/entry/management
  • Strong interpersonal skills for communicating and working effectively with private landowners, fellow technicians, and program managers
  • Camping may be required some days and the technician will be responsible for supplying their own camping gear.*

*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.