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Position: Raptor rehabilitator
Organization: The Owl Foundation
Location: Vineland, near Saint Catharines, Niagara Region, Ontario

About the Owl Foundation

The Owl Foundation is a registered charity established in the 1970s. It operates a centre near Vineland, Ontario, that helps injured, ill and orphaned wild owls and other raptors to recover and to prepare for return to the wild. Some unreleasable wild owls are kept in captivity as foster parents or to raise releasable young of their own. The Owl Foundation holds birds under licences issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The Owl Foundation is a very small organization funded by donations. At present we have 3 full-time staff and one regular part-time. The Owl Foundation does not have veterinary staff. We consult with vets and take birds to vet clinics when indicated. We have volunteers who act in various supporting roles, but volunteers do not work directly in raptor care.

The Owl Foundation is not open to the public. We have annual tours for donors by invitation only.

The Owl Foundation keeps raptors in aviaries and minimizes handling. We do not train birds to be handled, and we do not use birds for demonstrations of what people can do with them by training them. If you have interests of this kind, you would not be able to pursue them with birds at the Foundation.

Job duties

The rehabilitator job at the Owl Foundation includes all aspects of animal care, for both the raptors and the animals used as food for the raptors. The following list covers common duties of the job:

  • check all raptors and housing at the Owl Foundation daily and respond to any findings of abnormal behaviour, new health conditions or housing problems
  • maintain conditions needed for health in captivity, including cleaning of enclosures, measures to minimize the stress of captivity, and making minor repairs
  • perform health assessments and provide health care for birds in captivity
  • plan and provide food for all raptors daily
  • plan and provide daily care for rodents, and for quail when present
  • train and supervise volunteers and students in daily care of rodents, cleaning tasks and other duties
  • euthanize rodents with CO2 gas and prepare for freezing
  • manage frozen inventory of rodents and quail
  • manage supplies related to keeping rodents and quail
  • answer inquiries from finders or other centres about specific rescue and rehabilitation cases or for advice relating to raptors and rehabilitation
  • arrange transport of birds to the Owl Foundation using volunteer drivers, or perform rescue and transport for nearby casualties
  • admit raptors to the Foundation, including admission recording, examination, assessment and initial diagnosis, starting appropriate supportive care, providing initial housing, planning diagnostic tests and treatments, and arranging referrals when indicated
  • record cases and their treatment plans and progress in the system we use to manage rehab cases
  • perform diagnostic tests and procedures that are feasible in-house, and arrange for lab tests and visits to vet clinics in other cases
  • provide daily care for birds in intensive care
  • manage medications and other rehab supplies and order more when needed
  • monitor recovery progress and update records of rehab cases
  • euthanize birds that are deemed unreleasable and unsuitable for captivity
  • plan and execute moves of birds between enclosures
  • monitor release training progress for rehab cases and hatched birds
  • plan bird releases based on progress, plumage, species, season, priority, etc and obtain permissions when needed
  • arrange volunteers for bird releases and prepare containers for transport
  • prior to release perform final health check and measurements, apply permanent leg bands and create banding records

What we are looking for

We seek someone who wants to do raptor rehabilitation as a career, who has sufficient experience to provide quality care, and who can live with low wages and other challenges of this job because it is something that they really want to do.

The position is intended to be long-term. If your long-term employment goal is in another field, but you wish to do raptor rehabilitation for at least one year and you meet all the requirements listed below, you may apply, and will be considered if we are unable to find a suitable candidate who wants a long-term job.

The position is intended to be full-time. If you want a regular part-time job and you meet all the requirements, you may apply, and will be considered if we are unable to find a suitable candidate who wants full-time work.

All applicants should have significant experience in rehabilitation of wild birds, including raptors. This is not a trainee or intern position. You are expected to be able to perform most duties by yourself, including emergency care of birds. The job entails working alone or without rehabilitation assistance for part of each week.

The Owl Foundation has very few employees so every employee is important to our work and has many responsibilities. We depend on every employee to be competent, self-sufficient, dedicated, well organized, physically fit, consistently available, and ready to help others.

More specifically, you should have the following to apply for this job:

  • experience in emergency and supportive care of wild birds with injuries or illness, including diagnosis and treatment of dehydration, emaciation, wounds, fractures, head trauma, diseases, infections and parasites
  • knowledge of medications and procedures commonly used in avian medicine, and of the situations in which they should be used or should not be used
  • ability to identify raptor species found in Ontario
  • knowledge of raptor anatomy, behaviour and natural history
  • willingness to euthanize raptors and rodents
  • willingness to place live rodents and quail in release training enclosures where they will be killed by raptors learning to hunt or being tested for hunting ability
  • willingness to spend a lot of your time on cleaning and other mundane or repetitive tasks
  • willingness to work alone
  • willingness to work after hours for late arrivals or emergencies
  • willingness to supervise volunteers and students
  • fluency in spoken and written English
  • attention to detail and care and organization in maintaining written records
  • no allergies to fur, feathers, dust, pollen and common cleaning agents
  • current tetanus vaccination or willingness to be vaccinated before employment
  • ability to work outdoors in unpleasant weather conditions
  • ability to lift and carry pails of water and heavy bags
  • ability to go up and down long stairways many times every day
  • ability to use hand-held power tools
  • ability to carry and climb tall ladders (employees receive ladder safety training)
  • speed and co-ordination sufficient to capture wild raptors in cages and aviaries with obstacles, and to maintain control of a raptor that is capable of inflicting serious injury, without injury to yourself or the bird
  • a driver's licence and no serious charges in your driving history
  • a method of getting to work from where you live in a reasonable time; there is no public transit in our area; it is expected that you will live in or near the Niagara Peninsula

Hours of work

  • 40 hours per week covering 5 days, Tuesday to Saturday or Sunday to Thursday.
  • It is often necessary to work on holidays.
  • Normal start time should be in the range 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Occasionally it is necessary to start earlier or stay later than usual.

Wages and benefits

  • wage $16 to $17 per hour
  • benefits meet or exceed requirements of Ontario Employment Standards Act

How to apply

Please send your resume as an attachment to an email to:

In the email, please provide the following information:

  • state that you are responding to our rehabilitator job posting in goodwork
  • state whether you want a long-term job in raptor rehabilitation, or whether your goal is in another field but you would like to be considered for at least one year's employment if we don't find a suitable candidate who wants a long-term job
  • state whether you want full-time or part-time employment in raptor rehabilitation
  • if you have had prior contact or association with the Owl Foundation, please provide details about that

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Mar 2 2020    ID: 56261