RSPB • RSPB Northern Ireland

Glenwherry Curlew Initiative Monitoring Officer (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

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; Breeding bird surveys, nest finding, predator proof fence erection, and brooding monitoring, while also working with Farmers to help create Agri-environmental plans with the Conservation Officer.

This is an amazing opportunity to be working at the forefront of Curlew conservation in one of the most stunning landscapes of Northern Ireland.

RSPB Northern Ireland is looking for an enthusiastic individual to monitor breeding waders on land within the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) for a six-month post in the Antrim Hills.

What's the role about?

Curlew and other breeding wader species in the UK have seen major population declines due to large-scale landscape changes throughout the 20th century which has resulted in habitat loss and increased generalist predator numbers. 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.

The Glenwherry area within the Antrim Plateau has the highest concentration of Curlew outside of an RSPB reserve in Northern Ireland. Due to their known sensitivity to farming practices, an Agri-environmental scheme partnership between farmers, DAERA and the RSPB has been established with the aim to deliver landscape-scale conservation to halt and reverse the decline of this iconic species.

Within the last two years Glenwherry has established it’s self 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 area.

Your role will be to conduct breeding wader surveys and work alongside the Conservation officer to help provide more hands-on conservation work such as nest finding and erecting nest protection fences. This work will include mapping the distribution, abundance and behaviour of breeding Curlew and other moorland bird species, vegetation recording and habitat assessments and data entry. After the breeding season you will work along side the Conservation Officer to help deliver Agri-environmental plans for farmers within our vital landscape.

This is an exciting opportunity to work alongside a passionate team in one of the most spectacular places in Northern Ireland.

Key activities will include:

  • Conducting modified Brown and Shepherd breeding wader surveys.
  • Conducting vegetation surveys, habitat mapping and assessments.
  • Brood monitoring
  • Working with the Conservation team to deliver hands on conservation work at Curlew nests.
  • Data entry and upkeep.
  • Developing and upkeeping relationships with stake-holders and land-owners.

What we need from you


  • Higher level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience
  • You will have working knowledge of upland wildlife and habitats and some experience in bird surveying.
  • Ability to identify a range of British birds by sight, specifically waders, birds of prey and farmland birds.
  • Ability to undertake demanding fieldwork in remote areas for long hours and in poor weather.
  • Ability to navigate using a map, compass and GPS.
  • Capable of keeping accurate and legible records of data collected in the field.
  • Ability to be self motivated and work efficiently within a defined work place


  • Verbal communication skills to develop and maintain good relations with landowners and members of the public
  • Knowledge of conservation issues and practice, and conservation science.
  • Demonstrable experience of relevant research or survey techniques.
  • Practical experience of quantitative habitat surveys.

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 20/02/2023. 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.

This role will require completion of a DBS/PVG/Access NI in addition to the standard pre-employment checks.

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

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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.

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