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Position: Shrike Conservation Breeding Coordinator
Organization: Wildlife Preservation Canada

Salary: $35,000 - $37,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience

Start date: April 1, 2019
Duration: 12 month fixed term contract, with possibility of renewal or extension subject to additional funding

Location: Head office is based in Guelph, Ontario. Some flexibility to be home-/remotely based at least part-time. This position requires travel across southern Ontario, especially during the summer months, and occasional travel to the U.S.

Reporting to: Lead Biologist – Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery


The Eastern Loggerhead Shrike (ELOSH) is an endangered species in Canada. With less than 20 breeding pairs remaining in the wild, the population exists in only 2 core areas in Ontario, the Carden and Napanee Plains. Recovery activities for the species are multifaceted and include a multi-partner conservation breeding program with soft-release of young to augment the wild population. Wildlife Preservation Canada has been the lead implementer of recovery actions in Ontario since 2003, including coordination of the conservation breeding program. The breeding program currently includes several facility partners in both Ontario and the U.S. This innovative breeding program is the first in the world for a migratory songbird and has seen considerable success in terms of released birds returning to breed successfully in the wild. The Ontario recovery program forms part of a larger tri-national initiative to study and restore loggerhead shrike populations across their North American range.


The primary responsibility of the Breeding Coordinator is to oversee and coordinate the ELOSH captive breeding and release program and any associated research to support recovery objectives as established by the Recovery Team.


The Breeding Coordinator will work closely with partner facilities to ensure the implementation of an annual conservation breeding program. Broadly, the Breeding Coordinator will:

  1. Act as liaison between the studbook keeper and facilities to arrange annual breeding pair recommendations, including all necessary transfers.
  2. Coordinate releases of captive shrike with facilities and field-based release staff, based on recommendations from studbook keeper and program capacity.
  3. Ensure all release birds are appropriately banded, with required samples collected and appropriately labelled and stored
  4. Ensure high priority young are sexed in a timely manner to aid with recruitment decisions
  5. Lead/facilitate (as appropriate) all research activities involving captive shrike, as determined by Recovery Team priorities, e.g. radiotelemetry, vaccination protocols, etc.
  6. Coordinate periodic updates of the captive shrike standards and guidelines in association with the Recovery Team and other experts.
  7. Ensure facilities adhere to health management protocols, such as West Nile virus vaccination and parasite screening schedules.
  8. Provide support and expertise to facilities in all aspects of shrike management
  9. Facilitate the timely exchange of information and updates on significant events between the Recovery Team, the programs field-based and scientific staff, and facility staff.
  10. Work closely with the Captive Sub-Committee of the Recovery Team to arrange meetings, facility inspections, and address issues as they arise
  11. Update Environment and Climate Change Canada (as owners of the birds) on the status of the captive program.
  12. Ensure all program data is collected and maintained in appropriate digital format.
  13. Cooperate and consult with facilities on any recognition in public information, news media releases, or promotional endeavors that relate to the captive shrike program

Based on annual breeding results, the Breeding Coordinator will develop and implement a release schedule in a timely manner, in coordination with facilities and field-based release staff, including composition or release groups, release locations and timing. The Breeding Coordinator will also supervise and manage field-based Ontario release staff who are responsible for caring for young in-situ and conducting soft-releases. This includes ensuring that:

  1. All activities are conducted as per the Hacking protocol for Loggerhead Shrike in Ontario (to be updated and revised as required based on adaptive management and/or new knowledge)
  2. All release enclosures are set up and maintained at release sites
  3. All release young at the release sites are observed, fed and accounted for on a daily basis
  4. Soft-releases are conducted appropriately, with sufficient post-release monitoring.
  5. All release data is collected and maintained in appropriate digital format.

The Breeding Coordinator will work closely with the Lead Biologist to ensure the conservation breeding and release program occurs in conjunction with other provincial and North American shrike recovery initiatives. This will include assisting the Lead Biologist, as required, with:

  1. Writing funding applications, preparing interim and final reports as required in the grant agreements and ensuring that expenditures are kept within budgets.
  2. Updating program protocols prior to the field season.
  3. Updating position descriptions for all field staff, advertising positions, screening candidates and filling the positions with qualified personnel.
  4. Supporting the recruitment of additional partners for the conservation breeding program, as necessary, to meet recommendations from the studbook keeper.
  5. Coordinating implementation of communications and outreach components of the program, including landowner newsletters, delivery of talks to local naturalist groups or other events where feasible, and other initiatives as funding allows.
  6. Providing input and advice to the Conservation Programs Director, Executive Director and other members of the Recovery Team with respect to research and recovery activities, including attending Recovery Team meetings, and the Research Sub-Committee and Captive Sub-Committee meetings.
  7. Developing and maintaining good working relationships with all partners and stakeholders, including facilities, and provincial and federal government.
  8. Maintaining active involvement in the North American Loggerhead Shrike Working Group
  9. Ensuring annual entry of all field season data into the CWS LOSH Access database, and production of an annual report on activities for WPC and the Recovery Team.
  10. Providing content for WPC’s social media, i.e. Facebook/Twitter/blog, working closely with the Office Administrator and Fundraising & Communications Manager to ensure project “news” and achievements are publicized in a timely manner.
  11. From time to time, undertaking other tasks as identified by the Lead Biologist, Conservation Programs Director or Executive Director.


Science-based skills

  • Post graduate degree in a biologically related field, or equivalent level of knowledge/experience
  • Hands-on field experience in conservation of wildlife
  • Bird handling and banding experience; banding permit or ability to qualify an asset
  • Experience attaching radiotags to birds
  • Experience with field project management, supervising staff
  • Good data management and analysis
  • Familiarity with husbandry practices and captive breeding programs
  • Familiarity with re-introduction and translocation techniques and practices
  • Familiarity with small population management.

Other skills relevant to the nature of the position

  • Strong organizational and project management skills.
  • Strong time management skills.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Strong oral and written communications skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including conflict management, facilitation, and fostering smooth relationships with co-workers, superiors, partners, field contractors and volunteers, team work and team building.
  • Reliability and punctuality.
  • Highly self motivated, showing initiative and willingness to go the extra length.
  • Valid driver’s license; use of a vehicle for work purposes

To apply please send a cover letter and resume to: Hazel Wheeler, Lead Biologist – Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery, hazel[at] 

Please submit your application as a single PDF or MS word file and include the email subject heading “Shrike Conservation Breeding Coordinator Application”. Applications will be assessed as they are submitted, and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Applications will not be considered after midnight (EST) March 3, 2019. All applicants must be legally eligible to work in Canada.

We thank all who apply, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

When applying, please indicate that you saw this posting at

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Feb 6 2019    ID: 51063