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Massey University

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Tui song at Tawharanui Regional Park, New Zealand

Provider: Massey University

Region: Auckland




This PhD project involves researching the tui, a bird with some of the most elaborate vocalisations in the bird kingdom. We will be mistnetting birds, putting ID tags on their legs and taking blood samples for hormone studies. We will also be measuring parts of their anatomy such as their frontal plume feathers, head and bill etc. We will also be recording the songs of the birds too and you will get a chance to help analyse the songs.Previous experience with mistnetting, handling birds, data logging and recording bird songs with a shotgun long-range directional microphone and digital recorder would be a huge advantage, however training will be provided. The idea is to assist with bird handling within the team (sometimes just me but a team of more than 2 is more fun) but be out on your own to record the birds we have banded, so you must be self-confident. Hours may vary but typically we will catch birds between 0600 and 12pm and record birds up until 14h00.Taking blood from the birds will occur up until end of October, but anatomy measuring will take place over the whole summer. Later on, you may be asked to track single banded individuals for a whole day at a time in 3 x 3 hour recording sessions (dawn, noon and dusk). The study site is the stunningly beautiful Tawharanui Regional Park, just 90km north of Auckland City Centre (http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/tawharanui). Travel to other idyllic conservation sites around NZ's north island to record tui may also be possible. Enthusiasm is an absolute must as is a sense of humour. Early starts and fairly long days are normal. But the team is great fun and the jokes, philosophical conversation, sing songs and jolly japes come free of charge! Accommodation is free and you will stay at a shared bunkhouse at Tawharanui Regional Park with all of the facilities you need such as cooking, washing etc. Sorry I cannot provide payment, food or anything like that but can offer you an unforgettable experience in one of New Zealand's flagship conservation parks where you will develop essential skills at the cutting edge of ecological and biological research. Own transport and laptop would be desirableWould suit biology graduate (or similar), postgrad, enthusiastic budding ecologist or mature student.


Skills required

Mistnetting (desirable), bird handling (desirable), bird banding (desirable), bird song recording (desirable), sound analysis (desirable), enthusiasm (essential), sense of humour (highly desirable!)

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