Hawk Counter Position for fall 2020

Canadian Hawk Counter Position Announced

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) is seeking an experienced hawk migration counter for the Fall Count Season (September 1-November 30) conducted at Holiday Beach Conservation Area near Amherstburg, Ontario. The count is conducted atop a 40-foot wooden tower that affords a good view of the north shore of Lake Erie, the eastern horizon where the hawks are arriving, the northern and southern horizons where birds pass westward during migration. The site has hourly data beginning in 1974 to the present. National Audubon has noted this raptor count site is rated the third best in North America and first in Canada for viewing migrants. HBMO is proud of the programs it offers to the public and has had excellent full-time contract counters for several years. Many of them have continued to pursue graduate degrees in ornithology and obtain employment in rewarding careers.

Forty-six years of count data have been submitted to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) since its inception in 1974. General HBMO site information, data inventory, migration timing, and Raptor Population Index analysis may be viewed by using this link: http://hawkcount.org/siteinfo.php?rsite=100.

The seasonal average for an individual species has varied in the last 46 years. The current 40 year average for each species is as follows: Turkey Vulture-23,235, Osprey-100, Bald Eagle-102, Northern Harrier-815, Sharp-shinned Hawk-11,378, Cooper’s Hawk-589, Northern Goshawk-28, Red-shouldered Hawk-764, Broad-winged Hawk-32,708, Red-tailed Hawk-5,555, Rough-legged Hawk-84, Golden Eagle-63, American Kestrel-2,629, Merlin-70, and Peregrine Falcon-46.

This is a seasonal contract opportunity for five hawk counting days per week for 13 weeks (September 1 through November 30, 2020) for the fall migration. During the past nine years hawk counting ranged from 588 to 765 hours or an average of 10 hours/day with more in September (more daylight) and fewer in November (less daylight). A typical day of observation is from 7:00 AM EST and 4:00 PM EST. Qualified visitor observers can relieve the counter for short breaks. Daily data for hourly sheets is entered into the HMANA HawkCount.org database each evening.  A year-end report (similar to previous reports) is due February 1, 2021.

Essential Functions:

  • Daily identify and count all migrating raptors passing by Holiday Beach Conservation Area Hawk Tower.
  • Maintain hourly data sheets and enter data into HawkCount.org after daily count ends and submit summary on Ontbirds
  • Identify non-raptor migrants as time permits and submit daily count to eBird Canada.
  • Assist with writing the end-of-season summary report
  • Work in collaboration with count volunteers
  • Interact with hawk watch site visitors and school groups
  • Participate in two weekend hawk festivals in September
  • Undertake measures as agreed by HBMO Board for safe working with COVID 19

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Must be a Canadian national or qualified to work in Canada.
  • Minimum of one season of previous counting experience desired but not necessary
  • Ability to identify eastern raptors in flight.
  • Must be detail oriented; careful data collecting skills.
  • Ability to interacting with the public and have excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Be an enthusiastic and motivated self-starter who is also a strong team player.
  • Be willing to work irregular hours under sometimes difficult field conditions.
  • Must be able to walk on uneven surfaces, climb multiple steep steps in 40-foot tower and carry 20-25 lbs. as necessary.
  • Ability to tolerate long periods of time outside in harsh weather.
  • Must have their own vehicle, and a valid driver’s license.
  • No pets.

Contract total remuneration of $4,000 – $4,500 is based on 65 count days, submitted daily reports, season-end report, birding identification skills and raptor count experience.

A requisite one-day workshop on August 31, 2020 is conducted to help refresh counter’s knowledge of raptor identification and to review protocols.

Lodging is provided at no cost in a person’s home 17 miles from the count site.

Send PDF documents of:

1.   a cover letter outlining your qualifications, work experiences, and career goals, 

2.   a resume, and 

3.   three references (include email and phone numbers) of person(s) who can verify your bird identification skills and work ethic.

Send to Hugh Kent, HBMO Hawk Migration Co-ordinator, hughnkent@gmail.com 519-259-2444 and to Paul Pratt, Chair of HBMO, hbmo.ca@gmail.com. In the subject line write “HBMO Hawk Counter Position”. Closing date for applications July 24th , 2020. The position is open until filled.