Powerful Owl Project Officer position available - Sydney

On January 2012, Birds Australia and Bird Observation & Conservation Australia merged to form a new organisation called BirdLife Australia. Through BirdLife Australia we are integrating our conservation, research, education and members programs to be more effective over a wider range of activities. We form the biggest national bird conservation organisation in Australia with a membership of over 10,000 and an increased presence in all States and Territories.

An exciting opportunity now exists to work within BirdLife Australia during our first year of operation. Although newly formed, the merged organisation brings together Birds Australia and BOCA’s collective experience and over 200 years of history of working for Australia’s native birds.

We require a project officer with both research and education experience to coordinate a 2 year monitoring program of Powerful Owls in the Greater Sydney region, deliver education resources and enhance cross-sectoral coordination of land managers controlling Powerful Owl habitat. This project aims to involve the community and a range of stakeholders about the importance of landscape level habitat management for the protection of biodiversity by using this vulnerable icon species.

The Powerful Owl appears to be widely distributed within the Sydney region, with estimates of approximately 20–30 pairs, though a pilot project run in 2011 suggests that there may be as many as 50 pairs. While the species has a high level of community interest, there is currently no formal process for coordinating information about the distribution and status of the Powerful Owl. Little is known about the exact roosting and breeding locations and requirements of Powerful Owls and very little information is available about their fidelity to nesting sites and annual breeding success. A field survey and annual monitoring program is needed to provide this information which is vital for the long-term conservation of the Powerful Owl in the Sydney region and to inform the OEH Recovery Plan for this species. Powerful Owls also have large home ranges (1000ha +) that are likely to stretch beyond the boundaries of individual Local Government Areas and thus, whilst land managers may know of birds in their area, unless there is communication between different councils and also other land managers, it is impossible to know the actual population size of the birds and the importance of various individual bushland remnants across the landscape. Understanding and helping to mitigate the barriers to effective communication across different organisations will lead to improvements and coordinated management of large scale habitat for this and other species. This project will also stimulate and harness community interest in this iconic Australian bird by engaging the general public in citizen science and in doing so, educate the general public in ways that are likely to significantly enhance efforts to ensure their long-term conservation.

The role falls under BirdLife Australia’s Birds in Backyards program and is funded by a NSW Environmental Trust grant and the 2011 BASNA Twitchathon. The role includes:
•    engaging and training the community across Greater Sydney to determine a baseline of the population, breeding pairs and breeding locations of Powerful Owls.
•    coordinating land managers to talk about Powerful Owl habitat/breeding site management issues and provide indicative recommendations for the variety of stakeholders. 
•    delivering general education on Powerful Owls to the public about habitat management and biodiversity and encouraging action that enhances Powerful Owl habitat.

This is a part-time position for 2 years. For 6 months of each year the position will be 3 days a week (22.5 hours - when the project is at its busiest) and for the next 6 months the position will be 2 days a week (15 hours). The time at which these 2 or 3 day blocks are to be taken is negotiable. Salary of $48750 pro rata (6 months: 22.5 hours/week, 6 months 15 hours/week) plus 9% superannuation.

Download a full job description with selection criteria here

Applications addressing the selection criteria and a resume to Holly Parsons, Birds in Backyards Program Manager, by COB 16 February 2012 to holly.parsons@birdlife.org.au . Interviews will take place at the BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre in Sydney Olympic Park from the 20th of February. Enquiries: 02 9647 1875, 0403173060 or holly.parsons@birdlife.org.au.
 

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