Thanks for visiting the Coastal Programs volunteer page, where you can browse current volunteer opportunities available through the Alabama Coastal Bird Stewardship Program (ALCBSP). You’ll find detailed season-specific volunteer job positions or listings for upcoming volunteer training events below. Please click on the corresponding link to sign up.
Need additional information? Email the Coastal Programs Coordinator.
Upcoming Volunteer Training Opportunities
Coastal Bird Identification 101
Here are more opportunities to learn your coastal birds with our coastal steward, Andrew Haffenden! Come on out to the beach and set up with Andrew as he teaches you the tricks of the trade towards identifying those tricky pipers and terns. Contact Andrew Haffenden for more details and to register.
Seasonal Volunteer Job Opportunities
As a Volunteer Steward, you’ll be the driving force behind protecting lower Alabama’s beach-nesting birds, the eyes, ears, and voice for coastal avian species on the edge of survival. This important volunteer opportunity entails a wide range of duties including the installation of symbolic fencing and signage at colonial nesting bird sites along beaches, as well as outreach to the beach-going public. As least tern or black skimmer colonies develop, Stewards will set up stations adjacent to the colony and at the water’s edge where they will observe and record data, engage with the public by allowing them to view the birds through spotting scopes, and encourage the public to avoid sensitive nesting areas. Stewards will be trained to collect these data for the Birmingham Audubon Coastal Senior Biologist, as well as monitor any disturbances. These “steward stations” will consist of a beach buggy (for transport to the colony site), a beach umbrella, a spotting scope, and binoculars. Volunteers must have the ability to walk and pull this buggy in the sand, and be on the beach during mid-day.
Volunteer Surveyors play a significant role in implementing the Audubon Coastal Bird Survey Program (ALCBSP). This program was created in response to the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in 2010 to help scientists determine how sea-, shore-, and waterbirds were affected by the spill and to monitor their population numbers or densities over time. There are 12 survey locations across Mobile and Baldwin counties that require monitoring during the spring, fall, and winter. Trained volunteers will walk these linear transects (typically one mile in length) and record all birds observed there, along with metadata on habitat conditions during the survey. Ideally, volunteers should come with a baseline knowledge of coastal birds but will also have training opportunities and significant resources to help them be effective. Volunteers should have the ability to walk at least two miles along the beach in the early morning hours while observing the birds and habitat surrounding them.
Coastal Outreach Volunteer
Coastal Outreach volunteers will help facilitate the program’s objectives by helping at local and regional events, festivals, presentations, and birding trips throughout coastal Alabama. (See, for instance, the annual Alabama Coastal Bird Expo in Fairhope). Volunteers will assist staff at these events by helping to engage the public and by providing resources and information about our Coastal Program’s details and goals. They may also help staff prepare or assist with any hands-on activities or outreach. Our primary purpose is to connect individuals with our local habitats and to discuss the importance of beach-nesting bird protection and monitoring by developing a strong volunteer force to implement this work.
Coastal Field Volunteer
Coastal Field volunteers will work closely with the Birmingham Audubon Coastal Senior Biologist and Coastal Biological Technician to install symbolic fencing and signage around colonies in a timely manner in order to minimize disturbance at or near active nests. This position will require more detailed training to perform technical work such as re-sighting color bands on birds, counting bird species, estimating colony sizes, and determining breeding-pair densities of plovers, terns, and skimmers. This critical and highly sensitive work will always be performed in the presence of a Birmingham Audubon scientific staff member.
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