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Director of Bird Conservation

Mass Audubon
Lincoln, Massachusetts
$94,000 - $110,000 annually
Closing date
Dec 15, 2022

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Conservation science
Job Level
Senior level
Salary Type
Employment Type

Director of Bird Conservation

Location: Lincoln, MA

Sanctuary: Lincoln Headquarters


About Mass Audubon

Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at

About This Position

Mass Audubon has been a champion for birds since our founding in 1896. From millinery boycotts and passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to completing the first statewide breeding bird atlas in North America, to current programs supporting our most imperiled species, Mass Audubon has been synonymous with bird conservation in the state, regionally, and internationally for over 125 years.  

Our recently completed Action Agenda lays out an ambitious five-year plan to protect and steward resilient landscapes; advance equitable and inclusive access to nature; and mobilize to fight climate change. Bird conservation is threaded throughout the Action Agenda as a driver and an indicator of our success. 

We are now seeking an accomplished leader as our next Director of Bird Conservation to leverage strengths of the entire organization to advance bird conservation in Massachusetts, New England, and beyond. The director will expand our regional and international role as we engage more deeply in full life cycle conservation of key species. The director will grow our staff and budget, build and strengthen partnerships, raise our collective ambition and impact, and lead a dedicated team to a new legacy in bird conservation within and well beyond Massachusetts.  

The Director of Bird Conservation advances the organization’s mission by developing and implementing strategic actions relating to bird conservation in the state, regionally, and throughout the hemisphere. The director provides leadership and coordination for Mass Audubon’s bird conservation initiatives including strategic and annual planning, fundraising and budget management, staff recruitment and management, leadership on statewide and regional working groups, media relations, both scientific and general public publications, and public and community relations. The director acts as the spokesperson for Mass Audubon’s bird conservation efforts. 

The Director of Bird Conservation forges collaborative relationships with governmental, academic and other organizations and institutions to promote Mass Audubon’s strategic goals and priorities. The director creates and leads effective partnerships and alliances to accomplish common conservation goals and further integrate Mass Audubon’s activities with those of the broader conservation community. The director, working with Development staff, will be responsible for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting financial support for current and expanding programs, and has demonstrated success with grant writing and attracting major gifts. 


  • Set the bird conservation agenda for the largest conservation organization in New England, full access to 40,000 conserved acres to research and monitor birds, support species in conservation need, and engage supporters. Work with in-house team of 10+ PhD/MS ecologists to manage and restore habitat for birds on Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and beyond 
  • Develop community science projects to support research and engage long-time volunteers as well as non-traditional and underserved audiences in support of bird conservation priorities   Grow new and existing international partnerships to support full life cycle conservation of key species  Leverage expertise of our Coastal Waterbird Program to accelerate recovery of Piping Plover and all coastal nesting birds  Direct efforts to understand and mitigate effects of offshore wind development on birds  Work with policy staff to develop and advocate for state and federal legislation and regulations to protect birds 

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Guide the organization in identifying bird conservation priorities, develop bird conservation and research programs, and articulate a bird conservation vision and strategy to sharply focus Mass Audubon’s efforts and resources.  Develop and implement the Bird Conservation Department’s strategic and annual plans through effective leadership and management of staff and other resources. Provide guidance to implementation of metrics and evaluation throughout the organization, establish and maintain professional collaborations with academic, agency, and NGO colleagues; and assume leadership roles on external committees related to bird conservation and the larger Mass Audubon mission, raise funds from public and private sources to support the work of the Department and other needs of Mass Audubon 
  • Hire, supervise and evaluate staff and administer all Department functions including the development and effective management of budgets, projects and grants. Communicate Mass Audubon’s bird conservation priorities and achievements internally and externally through presentations, conferences, articles, scientific papers, and social media, among other means. In coordination with Marketing & Communications staff, respond to media requests for commentary on bird conservation and related issues  Work with Policy & Advocacy staff on bird conservation related issues including public comments on proposed legislation and environmental reviews of development projects  Contribute to staff training, especially Mass Audubon educators; participate in bird walks and other programs in support of wildlife sanctuaries, Philanthropy and Membership, and other departments  Help to develop community science initiatives to engage stakeholders in conservation activities necessary to achieve Mass Audubon’s bird conservation goals  
  • Assume other responsibilities as requested and needed 


At Mass Audubon, our highest priority is finding the best candidate for the job. Research has shown that people of color and women are less likely to apply for jobs if they don't believe they meet every one of the qualifications described in a job description. We encourage you to apply, even if you don't believe you meet every one of our described qualifications or you have a less traditional background. We are looking for applicants with the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (Ph.D. strongly preferred) in natural sciences or ecology, with studies in birds, bird population dynamics and behavior, migration, coastal bird conservation, habitat restoration, and/or interactions between birds and people. At least seven years’ experience in bird conservation research, planning, and management including supervision of other staff 
  • Demonstrated ability to design, fund, and implement on-the-ground bird conservation programs  Excellent written and oral communication skills including ability to speak to and write for specialist and general audiences, major media, and policy-makers  Committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in team-building and community engagement  Excellent organizational and management skills; demonstrated ability to coordinate the work of others in a decentralized setting  Proven ability to work effectively with a wide range of people, including other scientists, government officials, business representatives, landowners, and colleagues 
  • Demonstrated success in raising funds from public and private sources. Valid driver’s license and ability and willingness to travel throughout the state, region, and internationally; ability to work independently and travel on foot over uneven terrain; flexibility in working schedule, including availability early mornings, nights and weekends 

Desired Qualifications 

  • Familiarity with northeastern US flora, fauna, natural communities, and conservation policy and management issues 
  • Experienced in full life cycle bird conservation planning and engaged in international collaborations  Experienced with modern research technologies and practices including radio and satellite tracking with strong experimental design and data analysis expertise  Demonstrated experience and understanding of the role science plays in policy development and conservation of natural resources   Ability and enthusiasm for leading natural history program walks and trips in varied conditions, including outside the US  A participant in or leader of regional partnerships with extensive and productive academic and agency relationships 
  • Familiar with leveraging community scientists to support programs and build engagement 

Compensation & Benefits

This position’s base salary range is $94,000 - $110,000; actual salary will reflect level of experience and qualifications relative to position requirements.   

Benefits eligible staff at Mass Audubon may elect to enroll in medical, dental, and vision plans. Mass Audubon also offers disability and life insurance plans, a retirement plan through MetLife, and Flexible Spending Account options. Mass Audubon employment also includes access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the Reciprocity Agreement through the Consortium of Non-Profit Arts/Cultural/Environmental Organizations of New England. Mass Audubon employees also enjoy 12 paid holidays (in calendar year 2022; holidays may shift annually due to where days fall within calendar). 

Additional Information

Work location may be flexible. 

Other Requirements:

Employees must successfully complete a CORI and SORI Background Check and a Motor Vehicle Record (if applicable) is required.

COVID-19 Considerations

Mass Audubon requires that all staff, regardless of their work location, disclose their vaccination status. Proof of vaccination status will be required immediately upon hire. This should also include a booster shot if it has been 5 months since you were initially vaccinated.

Mass Audubon's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice

Mass Audubon's mission is to "protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife" by building a strong coalition of employees, volunteers, and community members. We recognize that the environmental movement and field of conservation have been affected by societal systems that have limited opportunity and access for many people. As a result, Mass Audubon is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees and applicants. We are engaged in an ongoing process of organizational assessment and change, designed to remove barriers and create a workplace where all forms of diversity are recognized and valued.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Mass Audubon is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees and applicants. Mass Audubon prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

How To Apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to:

Jeff Collins, Director of Conservation Science

Job# 3848

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