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Bird House Keeper Aide Internship

The Smithsonian's National Zoo provides the opportunity for interns to participate in daily animal management and keeper aide activities, including visitor education. The Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is closing on January 1, 2017 to the public, but is still open for business! The Zoo is renovating the Bird House and surrounding area, themed on bird migration, to provide an outstanding visitor experience, world-class animal care and sustainable and efficient operations. We are currently looking for qualified interns to assist animal care staff during the transition. Interns will have the opportunity to gain experience in the zookeeping field by participating in daily animal keeper activities including animal husbandry, nutrition, enrichment and training. This position requires a minimum of two years college experience in the biological sciences, good observation and communication skills and 24 hours per week, minimum (may include weekends).

Learning Objectives: 
  • Learn diet prep, exhibit care and maintenance, animal observation, and record keeping.
  • Help keepers with grounds maintenance and general housekeeping duties.
  • Learn and follow all safety protocols and policies of the unit.
  • Learn AZA guidelines, NZP directives, procedures and protocols and other related literature.
  • Give a presentation to unit staff about projects they worked on and what they have learned.
  • Strong preference will be given to undergraduate and graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers.
  • Must enjoy being outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to stand, stoop, climb, and lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor.
  • Must have a current negative TB test.
  • Will be subject to fingerprinting and must pass a background check.
  • Available to assist a regular schedule, that may include weekends and holidays.
This is an unpaid internship. Special consideration will be given to applicants who receive college credit for internship. Intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo does not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

There are three internship sessions during the year: spring, summer, and fall. Interns will be expected to provide at least 24-40 hours a week. Application Deadlines: Spring semester (January to May): Oct. 31 Summer semester (May to August): March 31 Fall semester (August to December): June 30

Washington DC
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two letters of reference (one must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Bird House Keeper Aide Internship”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA-submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.