Eric L. Walters

Assistant Professor

Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University




Employment Information

Are you interested in our migrant work in Virginia or our long-term woodpecker work in California?

Project 1: Virginia Field Work - Bird-Tick Relationships / Migrant Stopover Energetics

One experienced bander is needed that can lead a banding effort to examine bird-tick relationships along stopover habitats of Eastern Virginia. The bander will have previous experience as a Bander-In-Charge with passerine/near-passerines at a seasonal, migratory banding sites(s).

The position will run 5 days per week (weather permitting) from August through late November. A monthly stipend of $1,750 plus free housing will be provided.

One volunteer banding assistant is also needed to assist the Bander-In-Charge. The volunteer must have been previously listed as a subpermittee on a federal banding permit in order to be considered. Free housing and a small monthly stipend for food is provided.

Please send documentation of banding experience, the names and contact information for 3 banding references, a CV, and experience with passerines and near-passerines found in Virginia.

Applications should be sent to as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt.

Current Positions (Virginia):

 Fall 2016: 15 Aug to 22 Nov (1 Bander-In-Charge position); Norfolk, VA -OPEN

 Fall 2016: 15 Aug to 22 Nov (1 experienced volunteer assistant); Norfolk, VA - OPEN

      UPDATED: 15 JANUARY 2016

Project 2: California Field Work - Long-term Acorn Woodpecker StudyRyan Drobek installing an artificial granary

Field assistants are needed for ongoing long-term studies of the behavioral ecology of the cooperatively breeding Acorn Woodpecker at the Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel Valley, California. Hastings is run by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley. We have studied the behavioral ecology of color-banded Acorn Woodpeckers for over 44 years at this site.

The research focuses on both ecological and evolutionary factors involved in the evolution of cooperative breeding. Interns will participate in monitoring group composition, experimental manipulations, and roosting/nesting/mateguarding/feeding behavior.

Must be an avid hiker who is comfortable hiking up and down hills. Prior experience with birds (especially the ability to read color bands) is desirable but not required. Self-motivation, enthusiasm for the research questions, a willingness to sit in a blind for up to 3 hours per session (in hot weather with lots of annoying face flies), and an ability to tackle the rigors of field work are a must. We especially encourage those applicants that wish to attend graduate school in the near future and are interested in conducting an independent study during their tenure at Hastings.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to visa constraints, field assistant positions are only available to U.S. & Canadian citizens / permanent residents.

Positions include a modest stipend ($600/month) and housing. The experience is designed to be one of total immersion six days per week, and provides the necessary training needed for those interested in applying to graduate school. Winter positions typically begin in Aug/Sep and end in mid-March. Spring positions start mid-March and end mid-July. Because the reserve is about an hour to the nearest town, having a vehicle is highly desirable.

Current Positions (California):

 Spring 2016: 01 Apr - 15 Jul (3 positions) - OPEN


      UPDATED: 15 January 2016

Please include the following in your application:

  • a resumé / CV (please provide detailed descriptions (>1 page) of your academic, volunteer, and professional experiences);

  • a cover letter describing why you should be considered for one of our positions and an indication of what your short- and long-term career goals are;

  • the names, phone numbers, titles, and email addresses of at least three academic / professional references;

  • the dates you are available to work at the Hastings Reserve;


Don't forget to visit my web site Top 5 Mistakes Undergraduates Make When Applying to Field Jobs to make sure you don't fall victim to the common mistakes.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to visa constraints, field assistant positions are only available to U.S. & Canadian citizens / permanent residents.


Send resumé or curriculum vitae (email preferred) to:Woodpecker observation blind. Anna Brownson photo


Dr. Eric L. Walters

Department of Biological Sciences

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA 23529-0266



Eric L. Walters © 2015 All rights reserved.