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Bird House Keeper Internship

The Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is closed to the public but still open for business! The Bird House and surrounding area are being renovated to provide an outstanding visitor experience, world-class animal care, and sustainable and efficient operations with a new exhibit themed around bird migration: Experience Migration.

The Zoo is looking for qualified interns to assist animal care staff during the transition. Interns will have the opportunity to gain experience in the zoo keeping 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 a minimum commitment of 24 hours per week, which may include weekends.

Learning Objectives: 

Interns will:

  • Learn about 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 unit policies
  • Review and follow Association of Zoos and Aquariums' guidelines; Smithsonian's National Zoo directives, procedures and protocols; and other related literature
  • Give a presentation to unit staff about projects they worked on and what they learned

Strong preference will be given to undergraduate and graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field.  The selected intern must have the ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers, and should enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions. Strong communication and public speaking skills, flexibility and a good sense of humor are preferred. 

 The intern should have the ability to stand, stoop, climb and lift up to 50 pounds.   A current negative TB test is required. The selected intern will be subject to fingerprinting and must pass a background check. The intern should be available to assist a regular schedule, which 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 and the Smithsonian Institution do 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 commit to at least 24-40 hours per week.

Application Deadlines:

  • Spring semester (January to May): Oct. 31
  • Summer semester (May to August): March 31
  • Fall semester (August to December): June 30
Application deadline(s): 
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Washington DC
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu. 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 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.