Volunteer with us

PIBO regularly accepts applications from individuals interested in assisting with migration monitoring and banding during the spring field season—early April to early June—and the fall field season—early August to mid-November. We can accommodate short stays of one week and longer stints of several weeks. Ideally, volunteers are keen birders with some fieldwork experience in banding songbirds, or are willing and eager to learn. Volunteers report to the Bander-in-Charge who provides training and advises on PIBO protocols.

These are unpaid positions. We offer free rent in our staff house, but food and transportation are your responsibilities. Volunteers are required to work long hours, seven days a week, assisting with various migration monitoring programs. They also do their part in daily upkeep, cooking, cleaning, etc. at the staff house.

Field Coordinator Graeme Gibson the younger (right) instructs a young birder on the finer points of banding.

2019 volunteer Shane Abernathy helps prepare nets for banding.

Applications now being accepted for:

Volunteer Avian Field Assistant for Fall Field Season

(August 1-October 31)

One-week positions: for inexperienced banders
Two-Three-week positions: for those with some experience.
Location: Pelee Island, Ontario
Application deadline: July 1, 2022

Job Description:  Volunteer Avian Field Assistants (VAFA) will assist with mist netting and bird banding every morning. Depending on experience, the VAFA will help conduct the daily census, extract birds from nets and band the birds, and perform other duties associated with PIBO’s migration-monitoring program. Volunteers will also be responsible for helping with the daily chores at the PIBO staff house: cooking, cleaning, dishes, shopping, taking out compost, driving trash to the landfill, etc.

Perks/Conditions: Volunteers will be provided with free housing and food but transportation to and from the island is the responsibility of the volunteer. Volunteers should bring their own field gear, including rubber boots, mosquito hats/shirts and clothing for warm and cold weather, etc. This position starts in August, but by October, weather can be quite chilly on the island. A driver’s license is helpful but not essential. Applicants must be comfortable with snakes, spiders, variable weather and biting insects. Must be an early-riser! Work starts almost every day before dawn. Must be mature and dependable. Most afternoons will be free time apart from data entry and station upkeep.

Qualifications/Requirements: The Volunteer Avian Field Assistant will:

  • have some songbird banding and net extraction experience
  • be familiar with birds of the Great Lakes region
  • be congenial, since the VAFA is required to assist with welcoming visitors at the banding station
  • assist with the upkeep of the PIBO staff cottage and field station, help with shopping, cleaning, etc.
  • assist with PIBO island education programs and events, such as banding demonstrations, etc.

Please send cover letter and resume to  by July 1, 2022.