ICF is a leader in the conservation of the world’s 15 crane species and is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to cranes and the ecosystems vital to their long-term survival.  ICF’s world headquarters is located just outside Baraboo, WI (one hour north of Madison, WI).  ICF exhibits the only collection in the world of all 15 species of crane.  ICF is open to the public every day from May 1st to October 31st each year.  The Crane Conservation Department (CCD) is responsible for the care and management of approximately 120 birds year-round.  CCD Aviculture interns assist the fulltime staff in the daily management of the collection.


Aviculture Interns will gain valuable hands-on experience working with the ICF Crane Conservation Department and will:

  • Develop husbandry skills related to daily cleaning and feeding of the flock
  • Participate in the management of birds in captivity specifically for zoological institutions or reintroduction programs
  • Assist with routine crane facility maintenance activities and plant invasive species management
  • Learn and practice safe crane defense, handling and restraint techniques
  • Conduct behavioral observations associated with breeding, chick-rearing, or animal welfare assessments
  • Acquire an understanding of captive propagation including some participation in artificial insemination, egg incubation, and chick rearing
  • Achieve experience planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating a behavioral modification program (enrichment or training based)
  • Learn about ICF project initiatives related to crane ecology, behavior and husbandry, field conservation and ecology; and ecosystem restoration techniques and processes
  • Assist the Conservation Education Department with on-site visitor outreach through scheduled keeper chats or tours.
  • As time allows, assist in the completion of one or several projects related to the goals, work plan, and objectives of the ICF Crane Conservation Department including summarizing those projects in a formal paper and presentation

Additional opportunities may include:

  • Have the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of professional staff at ICF.
  • Participate in conservation field-related experiences such as radio-telemetry tracking of cranes, Whooping crane chick releases, and prescribed burns.

A taxable $800/month stipend including on-site housing is provided.  A typical work week is 5 days (40-50 hours) with two consecutive days off.   Interns are required to work weekends and holidays.  Some responsibilities require non-traditional work hours which may include early mornings, evenings, or night checks.


  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Interns must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus prior to starting employment or request a religious or reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to abide by all WI state, local & ICF institutional policies regarding COVID-19.
  • Must be able to commit to the 6-month duration.
  • Two years of college or equivalent practical experience required; 4-yr college degree or Associate degree in a relevant program preferred.
  • 6-months animal care experience with a focus in avian biology or zoo-keeping preferred.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with minimal supervision.
  • Well-developed communication skills including speaking to large visitor groups.
  • Reliability, sound judgement, and ability to master tasks and comprehend concepts quickly and correctly.
  • This position is physically demanding. Applicants must be able to carry 50 pounds and be able to lift, bend, or stoop for extended lengths of time.
  • Ability to work outdoors every day in all weather conditions found in Wisconsin, but also indoors in an office environment.
  • Ability to work a varied schedule.
  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply.