Former Great Gull Island Field Work Assistant at American Museum of Natural History
about 2 years ago
Great Gull Island is a really special place, the biggest skills I’d say you need are patience, an attention to detail, and the ability to wake up early and spend a lot of hours out in the field (usually in the hot sun so wear lots of sunscreen). The island is pretty small, but it is scanned in its entirety every single day in order to check for new nests, for newborn chicks, to band newborn chicks, and mark those nests for trapping (which happens at 6 am and 6pm everyday once it is peak season and there are lots of chicks hatching). Most importantly you have to be ok with hundreds and hundreds of sea birds flying around you and yelling at you. In the field you will wear hats that have tall plastic flowers attached to guard your head, but it is not uncommon to get pecked on your hands or legs. Also, be aware that it is a bit of a rustic living experience; there is no running water so you usually wash up by going swimming in the ocean. The food and water is brought over to the island from the mainland on boats (if you have any concerns about this I would say bring your own snacks too). The electricity is limited and is provided by a gas generator so you can charge your electronics as well.