University of Alaska Southeast


Company: Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Location: Sitka, AK
Position: Intern - Seabird Monitoring
Requirements: Open to all students

St. Lazaria Island Seabird Monitoring

Training & prep work in Sitka ~ 22-28 May, set up camp & begin collecting data ~28 May, return to Sitka ~10 September, winterize & store gear for 2-3 days.

**August 10-September 10 position possibly available.  Contact Leslie Slater for more information**

There may be re-supply trips to town ~once/month, or food, mail, and other needed items may be delivered to the island via charter boat (thus, eliminating or minimizing trips to Sitka).

The work is quite varied & changes throughout the summer. Species studied intensively are: fork-tailed & Leach's storm-petrels, pelagic cormorants, glaucous-winged gulls, common & thick-billed murres, tufted puffins, rhinoceros auklets, & pigeon guillemots. Our seabird work is focused on annual productivity, long-term population trends, diet composition, and chick growth. Species vary in their accessibility to us, so we can't necessarily collect data on all of the parameters mentioned for all species. We also conduct off-road breeding bird surveys (passerines), COASST surveys to look for dead wildlife & document their retention on the beach, raptor & island circumnavigation surveys, and help other researchers for short-term data collection efforts (e.g., tsunami debris surveys, entomological collecting). We spend about 50% of our time working on burrow-nesters which requires much kneeling, contorting one's body to reach into sometimes very small and sometimes very twisted burrows, and flexibility.

The refuge provides the majority of items you will need (heavy raingear, sleeping bag and pad, waterproof duffles, hipboots, rubber boots, personal flotation device, immersion suit, binoculars, bird and fish identification guides, and safety gear such as emergency locator beacons and flares). If you have a question about something not in that list, please contact me. Food will be provided when in the field. Per diem is paid at the Sitka rate (up to $200/day) and in camp ($5/day). We stay in Sitka pre- and post-field season to organize gear & complete some training (pre- only). Time spent in Sitka would depend on when you might be able to arrive. There are few options for visiting Sitka since we are able to have food (re-supplied at multi-week intervals) transported to us.

We will arrange round-trip travel from your home to Sitka (as well as travel required on the job). Our field work extends into September, with the ending date dependent on the activity of our study animals and the work load. Volunteers will be asked to sign a volunteer service agreement form. Volunteers must also be willing to participate in bear and firearms safety training.

Here's a little more info on the work:

We'll first emphasize checks of permanent plots of burrow-nesting storm-petrels; then we'll circumnavigate the island to count ledge- and crevice-nesting seabirds (cormorants, guillemots, and murres). We'll also emphasize nest checks of glaucous-winged gulls in the earlier part of June. In late June we'll also begin looking at rhinoceros auklets (burrow status checks like the storm-petrels) and tufted puffin burrow checks. As chicks appear, we'll collect food samples being delivered by the adults (auklets & storm-petrels). Murre observations begin in earnest in late June to follow egg-laying, hatching, and fledging to the end of the field season.

Contact: Leslie Slater
Contact at: or 907-226-4607
Closing Date: Open Until Filled