It finally happened, I got hired to do something great! This is exactly what I was looking for, a job counting birds and camping for weeks at a time. In fact it gets even better than that. I will be in the Alaskan backcountry, after being dropped by pontoon plane or helicopter. It will be the summer and therefore bright for very long periods of time, I was told birds begin singing around 1-2am every morning.
The backcountry of Alaska is a true wilderness. One of the last few that remain. All of my life I have wanted to explore the unknown, fantasizing about being in the frontier or being a naturalist in uncharted lands. This may not be quite as romantic as all that but it will certainly prove to be the closest I have come to achieving that fantasy. I will be out in the thick of it. Fending off massive mosquitos in swarms and lugging around a shotgun in case of grizzly bear encounters. That may not appeal to most but it practically sends shivers of excitement down my spine to think about it. Spending the days talking, eating, breathing and living the world directly around me. What better way to learn? What better way to live?
I was hired by the Alaska Bird Observatory, based out of Fairbanks. This is my introduction to the professional world of birding. It has been a hobby and interest for me in the last few years and I will finally have the chance to get more serious, meet some more "bird people".
To answer some frequently asked questions.
Q: Where in Alaska?
A: Not sure. I will be based out of Fairbanks in the beginning but I have not received any word on where the surveys will take place.
Q: What is the position?
A: My position title is Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey Field Intern. We will be doing point count surveys of bird populations as well as some vegetation surveying. It is part of an ongoing project and something that I am extremely proud to call myself a part of.
Q: When do you head out? By plane or driving?
A: I haven't yet received the official notification but i should be in training in mid-May. I do not need to bring much gear so I am in favor of flying right now but the drive up from Oregon would be beautiful.