Internships & Volunteering

The PMCA accepts volunteer/paid interns to help us conduct our Summer field research tasks and/or to work towards the PMCA's goals.  In exchange, an intern would gain various experiences related to the conservation of a native songbird species, the Purple Martin, through involvement in scientific research, practical aspects of management, and public education.  The intern will learn how to execute, with supervision, the activities of wildlife ecologists focusing attention on all aspects of Purple Martin biology.  Such activities may include, but are not limited to the following:

* Learn the behavior and life history of this unique bird

* Assist staff with banding birds and the recording of banding data

* Assist staff with collecting blood samples for genetic testing

* Learn and practice proper management techniques

* Conduct nest checks throughout the nesting season

* Assist with or conduct educational programs in local schools and to the public


A summer intern would travel with PMCA staff to a number of sites in the tri-state region to conduct field research.  These sites include private properties hosting Purple Martin colonies, PMCA research sites, and public properties such as Presque Isle State Park.  Hours of operation are generally 8 AM to 4 PM weekdays, rarely on weekends.  In August our fieldwork follows the birds to Presque Isle State Park for intensive band reading and observation of their migratory roost there.  Typically hours of operation will shift to a few hours in the morning and some in the evening with afternoons off.

Every year, the PMCA bands over a thousand nestling Purple Martins.  As an intern, you will be banding birds and collecting blood samples under the supervision of staff members.  A lot of time is spent reading colored leg bands with spotting scopes at the many colony sites.  Nest monitoring, photography, and field observations of behavior are all tasks of a summer intern.  Click here to learn more about current projects.

Since Purple Martins prefer open habitats, such as open fields, conditions will be very hot in the summer months and shade will not always be available.  Aside from the heat, the work will not be very physically demanding.  Rainy days are generally spent indoors catching up on the journals and data entry tasks.

This internship is open to students as well as non-students.  If a summer intern must take summer courses, we can work around schedules.  We will review each student's situation on an individual basis.

Funding for Internships

Depending on the nature of the internship and the availability of funds, the PMCA may fund internships.  Funding may come in the form of grants, written by the PMCA, or a stipend to cover the intern's travel and living expenses.  Please contact the PMCA for more information.

How to Apply:

Download the PDF version of our application and mail it to us.