Senior Aviculturist-Tropical Rainforest, Full-Time

Senior Aviculturist – Tropical Forest


Reports to: Curator of Animal Husbandry and Wellness

Status: Non-exempt, Full-time

Department: Animal Collections

Date: August 20, 2019


The National Aviary is currently seeking a Senior Aviculturist whose main responsibility is in the Tropical Forest routine. The main responsibility of the Senior Aviculturist is to care for the animal collection and to maintain the habitats in their assigned areas of responsibility. They are responsible for ensuring that their assigned area is maintained and operated at acceptable standards 7 days a week.



  • Coordinates and maintains daily husbandry for their assigned area
  • Maintains a strong understanding of the principles that underlie animal welfare in the zoological field and supports the National Aviary’s Animal Welfare Program
  • Maintains an understanding of the welfare indicators for the species and individual animals under their care
  • Develops cleaning protocols and standard operating procedures for the collection in their area; ensures protocols and procedures are followed.
  • Ensures acceptable daily appearance of all habitat components prior to opening and over the course of the operational day.
  • Develops an expert understanding of and employs the principles of  basic and advanced operant conditioning
  • Works with Curator of Behavioral Management and Education to create and implement individualized animal training in habitats
  • Cleans animal habitats daily as needed to maintain cleanliness standards, following standard operating procedures.
  • Observes animals daily and immediately verbally reports any issues to management
  • Creates, modifies, and maintains the animals’ habitats, including identifying and implementing solutions to housing problems as they arise, with supervisor approval.
  • Identifies and troubleshoots minor problems in air-handling, lighting, and filtrations systems; reports major problems to appropriate parties
  • Prepares and administers medical treatments as prescribed by the Veterinarian
  • Coordinates with Senior Aviculturist - Commissary, to monitor consumption amounts.
  • Prepares food for the animals and monitors daily diet consumption for a variety of species with supervisory approval
  • Ensures daily observations are notated in record-keeping database
  • Coordinates breeding management to ensure targeted species have proper nest structures, nesting materials, and breeding management action plans.
  • Working with Curator of Animal Husbandry and Wellness, responsible for ensuring appropriate enrichment is given as scheduled and necessary record-keeping related to enrichment is completed
  • Coordinates all training and coaches staff, interns and volunteers in his/her areas of responsibility.
  • Performs daily feeding presentations and encounters for visitors
  • Completes formal welfare assessments regularly
  • Serves as an Institutional Representative for AZA programs as needed
  • Responsible for maintaining animals’ physical condition including bill and nail trims and wing clips as scheduled.
  • Serves as a Responsible Party; adheres to all National Aviary established policies and protocols
  • Interacts with visitors utilizing National Aviary Visitor Engagement protocol and promotes Visitor Engagement in their area of responsibility.

 Reasonable Accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for their job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


  • The Senior Aviculturist has no formal supervisory responsibilities.
  • The Senior Aviculturist supervises the work of aviculturists, assistant aviculturists, interns, and volunteers assigned to the area.


  • Extensive knowledge of the principles, methodologies, and practices of optimal animal care and husbandry
  • Extensive knowledge of the species, natural history, husbandry and breeding management requirements of animals that are maintained in the collection.
  • Ability to properly handle and restrain a variety of species
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Proactive problem solving skills
  • Strong oral and written communications skills; ability to communicate effectively and interact positively with supervisors, staff, interns, volunteers, and management.
  • Strong presentation skills, as well as the ability to interact and communicate with a variety of audiences in a professional and engaging manner Strong interest in conservation and environmental education.
  • Ability to work as an individual as well as part of a team.
  • Ability to assess and prioritize multiple tasks and demands


  • Undergraduate degree in biology, zoology or related field required.
  • Three to five years aviculture experience required


  • Satisfactory Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and Child Abuse History Certification
  • Satisfactory FBI Criminal Record Check
  • Valid Driver’s License and ability to pass Department of Motor Vehicles check required


While performing the duties of this job, the employee constantly positions self to complete cleaning and maintenance of habitats, including under, over, and around obstacles. The employee occasionally ascends and descends ladders. The employee regularly transports crates and supplies up to 50 pounds. The employee regularly uses utensils and tools including knives, scissors, hoses, and falconry equipment. The employee occasionally operates hand and power equipment.


Work environments will include chilled or humid environments, public areas where the noise level may be loud, outdoors where work may need to be done in inclement weather conditions, including extremes of temperature and precipitation, and climate-controlled office spaces. The employee is regularly exposed to various disinfecting agents and common allergens such as latex, nuts, and seafood.


This is a full-time position. The candidate must be able to work on weekdays, weekends, and holidays and occasionally in the evening as job duties demand.


Please forward your resume and cover letter (including three professional references) to Jessica McAtee, Curator of Animal Husbandry and Wellness, at