Teslin Lake Bander In Charge conducting migration counts - Photo Ben Schonewille
The Yukon Bird Observatories relies heavily on volunteers to operate the field stations at full capacity, particularly at the Albert Creek and Teslin Lake observatories. With a limited amount of funding available, wages are typically only paid to a single individual at each observatory. This individual, the Bander In Charge, is a highly experienced field ornithologist who oversees all activities at the station. To operate effectively, each observatory requires a minimum of two additional volunteers to assist the Bander in Charge.
Volunteer extracting an Alder Flycatcher - Photo Jukka Jantunen
Volunteers can assist with a number of tasks at the observatories. Those people with sufficient experience handling small birds may be able to assist with extracting birds and banding them. Anyone with an interest can provide valuable assistance by scribing data and assisting with other tasks. Volunteers interested in learning to handle and band birds can do so under the supervision of the Bander In Charge; however, because of the time investment, such training opportunities are typically limited to individuals able to volunteer for extended periods of time (a week or more). In addition to assisting with the bird capture component of observatory operation, individuals with good bird identification skills can assist by collecting bird observation data.
Volunteer banding an Orange-crowned Warbler - Photo Jukka Jantunen
The Yukon Bird Observatories is always seeking long term volunteers at the Teslin Lake and Albert Creek Bird Observatories. To apply for a volunteer field assistant position or to inquire about short term volunteering, please email Ted Murphy-Kelly
and provide a cover letter and resume if applying for a long term position. If interested in short-term volunteering at the McIntyre Marsh Bird Banding Station, email Ben Schonewille
and indicate the dates for which you would like to volunteer.
Volunteering at the Yukon Bird Observatories can provide valuable training in bird identification, banding/handling and ornithological data collection in general. Our field stations are located in very scenic locations and volunteering with us can provide memories that last a lifetime. Please see some testimonials from some of our past and present volunteers.
"I never truly realized the amazingly wide diversity of birds in the Yukon until I began volunteering at the Yukon Bird Observatories, where I was able to experience bird migration first-hand. My volunteer work at the observatories has presented me with important skills involving bird banding and migration monitoring; skills I will continue to use throughout my life. The bird observatories have very knowledgeable personnel, unique, beautiful settings, and lots of birds - a spectacular working environment for those who love the outdoors! I know that as long as I am in the Yukon I will continue to volunteer at the Yukon Bird Observatories."
- Shyloh van Delft, Tagish, Yukon
Coming from Mexico, I wanted to experience the boreal forest. At first I imagined a distant region from which several bird species move southbound to winter in the tropics. Having been a volunteer at the Yukon Bird Observatories allowed me to witness a diversity of biological patterns among the birds displayed along the transitional boreal landscape. Therefore, my tasks were also diverse, ranging from thoroughly banding Empidonax Flycatchers to counting amazing flocks of White-fronted Geese! While also improving the identification of the nearby gulls and that of a Golden Eagle! I got interesting insight about bird ecology and conservation. The hospitable company and sharp expertise from Ted, Ben and Jukka, as well as the constant enthusiasm showed by the working team provided me with a great boreal experience!!
- Abril Heredia, Mexico City, Mexico