RSPB • RSPB Northern Ireland

Curlew Life Research Assistant (Technical) - RSPB Northern Ireland

Employment type:  Contract
Salary:  £21622 - £23987 per annum

3–4 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

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Job Description

Are you passionate about species conservation? Interested in gaining valuable research experience, while working with one of the UKs most recognisable and most threatened bird species?

The Antrim Hills are one of Northern Irelands' last real biodiversity hot spots, holding important breeding numbers of Curlew, Snipe, and Hen Harrier. As part of this incredible team, you will be working to help save the rapidly declining Curlew population through hands-on conservation work.

RSPB NI is looking for an enthusiastic individual with experience in nest finding and brood monitoring of breeding birds for a five-month post in the Antrim Hills.

What's the role about?

Curlew in the UK have seen major population declines over due to large-scale landscape changes throughout the 20th century. Northern Ireland Curlew specifically have declined by 82% since the 80’s, with only an estimated 150 pairs left we are in a race against time to stabilise and reverse this population decline.

As part of a bigger UK project funded through the EU LIFE programme to halt the population declines, RSPB NI aims to deliver landscape-scale conservation at our two key research sites; Glenwherry and Lough Erne.

Glenwherry has the highest concentration of Curlew outside of an RSPB reserve in Northern Ireland. And within the last two years, Glenwherry has established itself as a forefront in curlew conservation in the UK and Ireland. Producing enough chicks in the last two seasons to be optimistic that we might have turned the tides for this iconic species within the site.

Your role will be to collect data on breeding ecology of curlew. This will include nest finding and erecting nest protection fences, while also tracking broods to assess survival and habitat use, data entry and assistance with vegetation surveys. The post holder will need to have previous experience in finding and monitoring wader nests.

Key activities will include

  • Nest location and monitoring of Curlew.
  • Nest protection, including erecting and maintaining electrified predator proof fence.
  • Nest camera installation and maintenance
  • Conducting modified Brown and Shepard breeding wader surveys.


  • Relevant degree or equivalent work experience.
  • Practical experience of locating/monitoring nests (including nestling biometrics) (waders)
  • Ability to identify a wide range of British birds by sight and sound, specifically waders and farmland birds.
  • Ability to undertake demanding fieldwork in remote areas for long hours and in poor weather.
  • Ability to work under own initiative with limited supervision, whether alone or as part of a small team
  • Ability to navigate using a map, compass and GPS.
  • Capable of keeping accurate and legible records of data collected in the field.

Additional Information

The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from the 20th of February 2023. For further information please contact Katie Gibb; katie.gibb@rspb.org.uk

As part of this application process, you will be asked to complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Before applying for this role, we recommend reading through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of this advert.

Company benefits

Open to part-time employees
Open to compressed hours
Enhanced maternity leave
Enhanced paternity leave
Adoption leave
Shared parental leave
24 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced sick pay

The FlexScore® is the result of a rigorous 2-step verification of a company’s flexibility

First we assess the flexibility options RSPB provides and then we anonymously survey a statistically significant proportion of their employees to make sure RSPB is as flexible as they say they are. Our assessment is based on the six key elements of flexibility: location, hours, autonomy, benefits, role modelling and work-life balance.

We ask the hard questions so you don’t have to.

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