Maine Coastal Islands NWR

2020 SEABIRD TECHNICIANS (9 positions)

Petit Manan NWR
Photo by Kirk Rogers

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge needs 9 field researchers (island supervisors and technicians) to monitor seabird colonies on islands along the Maine coast. Seabird species to be studied include: common, Arctic, and roseate terns, common eider, laughing gulls, black guillemot, Leach’s storm-petrel, Atlantic puffin, and razorbills. This is an incredible opportunity for students considering a career in wildlife management or related fields to gain valuable field work experience. Island researchers work hands-on with seabirds that most people are lucky to see from a distance.


While living on the islands, researchers will protect the nesting colonies from predators and monitor all aspects of nesting, including: conducting an annual census of all nesting seabird species, monitoring productivity, observing chick feedings, trapping and banding adult seabirds, banding chicks, re-sighting banded birds, and conducting daily bird surveys. Predator control efforts primarily focus on removing mink, owls, and gulls that predate the seabird colony and recording observations of predators or predation events. Researchers will be required to manage data from accurate collection, entry into Microsoft Access databases and Excel spreadsheets, and proofing. The crew leader(s) will be responsible for prioritizing daily tasks, leading field work, and ensuring protocols are followed and data is accurate. The crew leader will also summarizing data in an Annual Report.


We are looking for people who are willing to learn new techniques, have a solid work ethic, and work well independently yet are comfortable working/living with other researchers on remote islands with limited amenities. Applicants will work outdoors in variable weather conditions, and need to be able to hike over rugged, uneven terrain and lift and carry 50 pounds. Prior experience with bird identification and seabird ecology is preferred, but not required. Self-motivation, a strong work ethic, enthusiasm for science, and ability to tackle the rigors of field work (long hours) are a must. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a US Citizen, have a Social Security Number, and a US Bank account for electronic payments.


May 11 - July 31, 2020 (five positions), May 26 - August 14, 2020 (two positions). May 26 - July 31, 2020 (one position), and May 11 - August 14, 2020 (one - PMI supervisor)

Researchers will be living on the island for the entire 11 to 13-week period with the exception of one (2-3 day) break.


Housing is provided in lighthouse keepers’ houses or cabins, with propane lights and refrigerators, limited solar electricity for computers, and no running water. Salary: $480 to $600 per week (varies with level of supervision)

To Apply:

Email the following materials to cover letter, resume, and three references with contact information (name, phone number and email address). Consideration of candidates will begin on January 15th and continue until all positions are filled. Application deadline is February 10, 2020. For more information, call Maine Coastal Islands NWR at 207-594-0600 ext. 3 or check out our website at
and the seabird island blog which describes the summer field season from a technician's perspective at

Application Deadline

Apply early! We will start filling positions on January 15th. Final deadline for applications is February 10, 2019.