House Sparrow Surveyor

Wednesday 3 February 2016
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation, Volunteering at home
Various locations

What we're looking for

House sparrows have seen huge declines in cities and towns across the UK. In Glasgow, house sparrows are believed to have declined by up to 98% since 1959 and 85% since the 1970s. The reasons for this decline remain unclear but a number of factors have been put forward to try to explain it. This project, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, will use the people power of citizen science to source data from all over Glasgow to investigate the factors that affect house sparrow populations in the city and to come up with recommended measures to increase numbers of house sparrows in the city.

The skills you need

We are looking for a number of volunteers within Glasgow who would survey an area of the city on a regular basis for the presence of house sparrows and also look at vegetation structure and potential nesting sites. All training will be provided but if volunteers have more skills in ID, finding nesting sites, etc then they can take on more challenging tasks for the project.

Your time

4 surveys per year with flexibility around when the surveys need completed and can be fitted around other commitments. There will also be a training day and 2 meetings with RSPB and Glasgow University staff
1 year to begin with but possible up to 2
2 surveys over spring/summer, 2 over autumn/winter

What's in it for you?

A great opportunity to get involved with an important science project that will deliver benefits for house sparrows in the city. You will grow your skills and knowledge to make a real difference for birds, wildlife and the environment. It is also a chance to learn more about the work of the RSPB and there will be opportunities, should you wish, to get involved with other work of the Regional team, including people engagement and fundraising/membership recruitment events.

How to apply


Sarah-Jayne Forster, South and West Scotland Regional Office
Tel: 0141 331 0993


We are looking for volunteers to commit to surveying their area 4 times a year. The size of the area allocated will be flexible and so we anticipate surveys to take the equivalent of 1-2 days' work. There will be flexibility around when the survey would need to be done and could be fitted around other commitments. There will also be a day of training at the beginning of the project and 2 further meetings during the project to get interim results with RSPB staff and biologists at Glasgow University. Duration: up to 2 years, but for 1 year in first instance Period: 2 surveys over spring/summer and two over autumn/winter Volunteers will be asked to pick and then visit streets or urban areas where they either know or suspect there might be House Sparrows and then make regular counts of how many they see at different times of the year. Initially we would like counts in two periods Spring (April to June) and Summer (July to Sept) and then we plan to follow up with two further counts periods Autumn/Early Winter (Oct to Dec) and Late Winter (Jan to March). Volunteers can choose how frequently they would like to make the counts as long as they can make at least one visit in each period. More frequent counts, such as at monthly or weekly intervals would also be very valuable. Volunteers can also choose how many streets or areas they would like to visit, we envisage the area covered taking about half a day per visit. For volunteers with more time available, we will also be looking at basic measures of vegetation structure on each street and potential sites for nesting. In the second year of the project we will be looking at putting some nest boxes up at specific sites in the city with appropriate habitat.

Reference number 6996