top of page
Adult spotted owl perched in a cedar tree.


The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program internship program offers a unique experience for recent college or university graduates to gain hands-on experience in conservation biology. Internships usually take place during the breeding season, February through June.

Interns quickly learn the daily operations of a conservation breeding program, including interpreting owl behaviours and maintaining a healthy rodent prey colony. Interns become involved with artificial incubation and monitoring egg development. Once chicks are born, the team works day and night shifts to keep constant watch over the chicks, who are extremely fragile their first few days of life. Interns assist senior staff with feeding and weighing chicks up to four times per day. There are also opportunities to participate in our education and fundraising efforts.


Applications are usually accepted in November for interns starting the following year. Interns are hired through the British Columbia Conservation Foundation with funding coming from our partners at the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program since 2016.

The British Columbia Conservation Foundation is committed to ensuring that no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability, and to achieving and maintaining a workforce that is representative of women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with differing abilities and members of visible minorities.

Internship Job Description

Daily Animal Husbandry

Daily care of the owls is required to ensure each owl remains healthy and fit for breeding. Duties will include diet preparations and feeding of owls, behavioural observations, cleaning and maintenance of owl enclosures and work spaces, and the maintenance of mice and rat colonies that are bred to feed the owls. The focus for the breeding season is on owl care and monitoring. Attentive, continuous monitoring is required to identify when eggs are laid. Once eggs are secured with the utmost care, they are placed in incubators where they must be carefully monitored for accurate environmental conditions and regularly checked for development. Hatched chicks required 24-hour care to head start their growth and development prior to being returned to the adult breeding pairs. Candidates must be prepared to work a widely varied schedule, including up to 10-hour shifts, isolated work, and alternating between day, evening, and overnight shifts on a regular basis. 


The intern will help staff with the ongoing maintenance of existing enclosures and facilities and may assist with the construction of new habitats. All required equipment and training will be provided on-site.


The intern will be responsible for important data entry throughout the breeding season. Research and data analysis from the breeding season is crucial for the development and updating of protocols. Intern may assist with the writing of reports and funding proposals, as well as help keep the NSOBP's social media presence up to date. Further development and participation in education programs will be important components.

Field Work

After all chicks have been returned to active spotted owl nests, the intern may participate in release activities which would require driving to remote sites, early mornings/late nights, and camping. A 4×4 vehicle is provided.

Wages, Accommodation and Working Conditions

Interns will be paid up to $19.00/hr and be required to work (day, evening, and overnight) up to 40 hrs per week with the possibility of overtime during the chick-rearing season. Interns are required to have independent housing off-site and their own transportation to the facility in Langley and outreach events (mileage will be reimbursed for outreach travel). Interns are required to provide their own food and proper work clothes and boots for all weather conditions. The NSOBP is a non-smoking work environment.

Essential Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or diploma related to fields in biology, zoology, conservation, environmental science or veterinary science.

  • Must have previous animal care or husbandry experience, specifically birds and small mammals.

  • Physically fit, capable of lifting 50lbs, and prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions.

  • Willing to work a varied schedule and be available to work 5 days a week, including many night shifts.

  • Eligible to work in Canada at the time of application.

  • Valid driver’s license in BC. 


Asset Qualifications

  • Previous biological work experience in the conservation of threatened and/or endangered species.

  • Understanding of animal behaviour and reproductive biology of birds.

  • Experience working outdoors or in a variety of conditions.

  • Experience working independently.

  • Ability to adapt to a rotating schedule (provide examples if possible).

  • Experience working with indigenous communities.

  • Previous experience delivering educational programming to various age groups in formal and informal settings.

  • Competency using social media platforms and content creation programs like Canva.

  • Competency in using Excel and Word.

  • Valid First aid certification.

  • Experience driving in snowy, rural areas and appropriate tires for winter road conditions.

bottom of page