PIBO International Internship

Our internship programs seek to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.

The Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO) is situated at the confluence of two major flyways on a small island in Lake Erie between Ohio and Ontario. For 20 years, PIBO has been banding and monitoring migrating birds as part of its commitment to making Pelee Island a unique and vital part of the international effort to preserve wild and migratory birds and to protect our threatened planet. As a regional not-for-profit organization registered in Canada, it promotes to bird conservation through scientific research, avian population monitoring, and connecting people to nature.

As part of our effort to connect with researchers along the hemispheric flyway, PIBO is looking for an enthusiastic ornithologist or avian biologist to join our team as International Intern for a portion of the fall season (August 1- October 31) at our field station on Pelee Island, near Windsor, Ontario. As an International Intern you will report to the Field Supervisor and be responsible for helping with all fall research and maintenance, as well as assisting in the delivery of on-island education programs (as needed).

Start Date: August 15- September 30 (flexible)

Compensation: $5,000 CDN stipend for expenses to be paid in three installments.  Interns are responsible for booking their own travel arrangements and health insurance. Up to date vaccinations are required.

This opportunity is available to non-Canadian citizens, with a preference for Central American, or Caribbean advanced student avian biologists or early career ornithologists working along the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways, interested in exchanging skills and gaining field experience on Pelee Island.  Priority given to candidates with an ongoing research projects that will benefit from this placement. Reasonable fluency in English is required.

Job description:

  • Daily constant-effort avian migration monitoring (bird banding of passerines and census)
  • A written report on the topic of your current avian research and it’s connection to birds on Pelee Island or a report on the common species in both your country of origin and Pelee Island
  • Assist with online social media updates during the fall migration season and contribute to articles to the newsletter as required.
  • Assist with staff house maintenance


  • A passion for birds, scientific research, and conservation
  • At least 2 years of university level education in a related field or equivalent experience
  • Familiarity with birds in the Great Lakes region and with birds in your own region
  • A self-motivated team player, with strong interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Able to adapt to shifting conditions and priorities
  • Mature, reliable, organized and detail oriented


  • Experience with bird banding
  • Experience in migration monitoring and species surveys

Physical requirements:

  • The ability to traverse soft, potentially risky mud and to endure varying climactic conditions (cold mornings, hot days, biting insects, etc.).
  • The ability to tolerate long field days in remote locations (sometimes exceeding 8 hours)
  • Early mornings and occasional weekends

To Apply:

Please send your resume and details of your research project, together with a cover letter describing your ornithological skills, your experience with birds, and your interest in working with PIBO, to Suzanne Friemann, executive director of PIBO, at: .

Martha Cruz, Sept 2023

Martha Ramirez Cruz, International Intern, Fall 2023 (from Hidalgo, Mexico)

“...I have learned a lot about banding and Island species. Among the nerves and the excitement of being in another country, as a biologist, I couldn't believe it. These six weeks I'm grateful to have been in Pelee Island and to witness only a small part of two great migratory routes: the Mississippi flyway and the Atlantic flyway. It's exciting to see some of birds that spent the Winter in Mexico. For now, I would like to continue learning and sharing about birds in Mexico or wherever life leads me.”