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 take place during the breeding season, typically February through June.
Interns quickly learn the daily operations of a captive 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 4 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.
Internship Job Description
Daily Captive Care
Daily captive 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, behavioral observations, cleaning and maintenance of owl enclosures and workspaces, 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, and alternating between day, evening, and overnight shifts on a regular basis.
The intern may assist with the writing of reports and funding proposals, as well as help keep the program social media presence up to date. Research and data analysis from the breeding season is crucial for the development and updating of protocols. Further development of and participation in education programs both on and off site will be important components.
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 training would be provided on site.
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 possibility of overtime during the chick-rearing season. Interns are required to have independent housing off-site and transportation to the facility in Langley and to and from 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.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or diploma related to fields in biology, zoology, conservation, environmental science or veterinary science.
Applicants must have previous animal care or husbandry experience, specifically birds and small mammals.
Applicants must be physically fit, capable of lifting 50lbs, and be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
Applicants must be willing to work a varied schedule and be available to work 5 days a week, including many night shifts.
Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada.
Applicants must possess a valid driver’s license that is valid for use in BC.
Previous biological work experience in the conservation of threatened and/or endangered species,
Understanding of animal behavior and reproductive biology of birds,
Experience working outdoors or in a variety of conditions,
Previous experience in delivering educational programming to the general public,
Competency using social media platforms (ie Facebook and Instagram)
Competency in using Excel and Word,
Valid First aid certification
Experience driving in snowy, rural areas and appropriate tires for winter road conditions
We recognize the importance of a diversified workforce, and we encourage Indigenous People(s), First Nations, Métis candidates, women, members of visible minorities and persons with different abilities to apply.