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Bird Keeper

Audubon Aquarium
New Orleans, United States Posted: June 15, 2024

Entry level to experienced level keeper; this position encompasses semi-skilled to advanced level work in the routine husbandry of assigned animals and care of assigned habitats. Responsible for all aspects of animal health, welfare, exhibit maintenance, recordkeeping. Maintains team values, a willingness to always be learning and teaching, and a commitment to the Audubon Nature Institute culture.

To deliver on the Audubon mission, the Bird Keeper will: 
  • Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
  • Approach all encounters with employees and guests in a friendly, service-oriented manner. 
  • Maintain the highest standards related to the day-to-day operations of the Husbandry Department.
  • Work evening, weekend, holiday hours - required. 
  • Return telephone messages and e-mails in a timely fashion.
  • Handle problems in the workplace, including anticipating, preventing, identifying, and solving problems as necessary. 
  • Identify and correct minor or routine maintenance problems in a timely manner and report other maintenance needs.
  • Interact positively with the public and co-workers. 
  • Make decisions consistent with Audubon Nature Institute policies and procedures. 
  • Assist with daily duties in all sections as required.
  • Be required to perform facility and exhibit maintenance, including but not limited to, trash and debris removal, floor cleaning, painting, building repair, horticultural duties, etc. 
  • Establish and maintain effective, efficient and cooperative relationships with employees, senior administration, vendors and customers. 
  • Maintain high standards of personal appearance and grooming, including proper uniform standards.
  • Always comply with Audubon Nature Institute standards and regulations to encourage safe and efficient operations.
  • Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience
  • Work within the guidelines and mission of the Audubon Nature Institute. 
  • Convey information and ideas clearly. 
  • Conduct behind-the-scenes tours for VIP’s, donors, and Audubon Education programs as scheduled. 
  • Interact with the public to include on and off grounds educational and media presentations.
  • Develop and present educational programs as required. 
  • Function as an interpreter and represent ANI as a spokesperson. 
  • Compose animal and exhibit information for publication in the following: Audubon’s website, AZA’s website and other publications.
  • Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks
  • Perform basic arithmetic functions and process financial information.
  • Strive to operate within budget limitations.
  • Manage time effectively to eliminate unnecessary overtime.
  • Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation
  • Encourage and support Audubon programs.
  • Promote, participate in and oversee departmental research and conservation programs
  • Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
  • The above-listed duties are general statements of required major duties and responsibilities performed on a regular and continuous basis.  They do not exclude other duties as assigned
To deliver on the Audubon service promise, the Bird Keeper will: 
  • Welcome
  • Make eye contact with every customer encounter, smile at every person, offer friendly phrases and greetings.
  • Wear an identification badge.
  • Walk individual to destination instead of pointing; offer assistance to people who look confused.
  • Assume ownership of potential safety hazards (wipe-up spill, pick up trash).  Always have the camera-ready look.
  • Share
  • Maintain positive attitude, pleasant tone of voice (remember it is not what you say, but how you say it).
  • Coach coworkers on service expectations.
  • Utilize the power of teamwork to give excellent service.
  • Know when to involve management.
  • Inspire
  • Know the answers to questions or seek out the answers.
  • Utilize proper phone etiquette (answer phone within three rings, smile before answering call, ask for permission and wait for response before placing caller on hold).
  • Ensure work area is free of food, drink, socialization, and personal business.
  • Follow Dress Code Policy on clothing and grooming.
  • Keep unpleasant concerns behind closed doors (vent backstage).
Supervision:  N/A 
  • Minimum of one year of unpaid or paid experience in a zoological facility, public aquarium, wildlife facility, aviary, or similar facility with a focus on avian species and other taxa as needed (i.e., mammals and / or reptiles) in an AZA zoological setting. 
  • Knowledge of modern aviculture, other taxa as needed (i.e., mammals and / or reptiles) in an AZA zoological setting.
  • Knowledge of breeding, incubation, and hand-rearing a plus.
  • Have a good understanding of basic to advanced operant conditioning techniques; skills are to grow as keeper becomes more experienced with time. 
  • High School diploma (or equivalent) and a degree from a recognized college or university are required.
  • College course work in zoology, biology, animal science or related field is preferred; or an equivalent level of work experience and education as determined by the hiring authority.  
  • Must maintain a valid driver’s license.
  • SCUBA certification is a plus.
  • First Aid/ CPR is a plus.
  • If SCUBA certified, then the Bird Keeper will need to demonstrate the ability to: 
  • swim efficiently at the surface,
  • swim efficiently underwater,
  • tow another diver while in full SCUBA gear,
  • tread water/float on the surface,
  • assemble, ditch and don SCUBA gear,
  • control of buoyancy using SCUBA,
  • clear SCUBA mask and swim without a mask underwater,
  • regulator skills – recover and clear, and breathe through free-flowing regulator, and
  • demonstrate comfort underwater in all conditions, stressful or otherwise.
Software Requirements:  
  • Proven competency in the application of Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint, and Excel computer programs is required.
  • Experience with Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) is preferred.
Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements:  
  • Basic knowledge of power tools is a plus.
Physical Requirements:
  • Performing strenuous, fast-paced work both indoors and outdoors.
  • Sitting or standing, bending, and stooping per OSHA regulations.
  • Heavy work involving lifting no more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 50 pounds. 
  • Must be able to swim.
Environmental/Working Conditions:
  • Maintain regular attendance in compliance with Audubon standards, as required by scheduling which may vary according to the needs of the organization. 
  • Willingness to work weekends, holidays, irregular hours and be available based on special needs/circumstances on a 24-hour basis. 
  • Willingness to work long hours between breaks or meals as required. 
  • Willingness to work outdoors, lift heavy objects, and risk periodic exposure to fairly predictable and controllable hazards associated with wild animals and zoonotic diseases. 
  • Maintain off-exhibit areas in a clean, organized and safe fashion. 
  • Willingness to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner.
  • May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity. 
  • May be exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperatures.
  • May be exposed to ozone.
  • Willingness to work around and handle raw seafood, including shellfish. 
  • Oversee pest control efforts in section.
  • Willingness to serve on the Aquarium’s Hurricane Team if necessary.

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