Montagu's Harrier Surveyor

Thursday 15 March 2018
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation, Surveying wildlife
Eastern England Regional Office

What we're looking for

As part of the RSPB's Saving Nature Scheme, we are looking for flexible and enthusiastic people to help with the monitoring and protection of Montagu's Harriers in eastern England. The Montagu's Harrier is the rarest breeding raptor in the UK, visiting the UK in the summer and migrating to West Africa over winter. The UK population of Montagu's Harriers appear to be in decline with breeding success variable year to year, and its status is precarious with each pair needing special protection. Montagu's Harriers nest on the ground, often on arable farm land. This can result in unintentional nest destruction by land owners during harvest operations, and the risk of predation by mammals and other bird species. Low level persecution is also suspected, with adult birds vanishing on three occasions in recent years, so the RSPB continues to closely monitor these birds. The on-going success of Montagu's Harriers is reliant on the continued efforts of RSPB staff, volunteers, farmers & landowners to protect nests and ensure the population continues to remain at a sustainable level. Field based, we need you to search for and locate Montagu's Harriers in specific areas around Norfolk, dependent on your circumstances and where survey need is greatest. Once birds are located, we would like you to continue to observe and monitor the birds for signs of nesting and young. We may also need you to support protection activities too.

The skills you need

You will need to be an experienced bird watcher, able to identify all three British harrier species, often at a distance using optical equipment, with some experience of Montagu's Harrier observation and behaviour being an advantage. Searching for and surveying these birds requires patience and time, sometimes with limited results, given their rarity, therefore you will need to enjoy spending time observing birds and keeping accurate field notes. Enthusiasm is a must in this role, as are reliability and confidentiality. You may be asked to respond quickly should intervention be necessary during farm operations. Good communication skills and an understanding of the important role farmers and farm staff play in Montagu's Harrier conservation are important. The work location will be off public transport routes; so as a result, a driving license and own vehicle is required. Own optical equipment is also required.

Your time

1-2 days/week throughout the season
late April to September

What's in it for you?

As an RSPB volunteer you are part of something big – a team of amazing and dedicated people who donate their time, energy, talent and skills to help birds and other wildlife. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the conservation of Montagu's Harriers in Norfolk, and a chance to learn about one of the UK's rarest breeding raptors. As part of a dedicated and enthusiastic team, you will develop existing skills and learn new ones in surveying and the protection of Montagu's Harriers. Full training and support will be provided by RSPB staff and experienced volunteers. This role will bring an opportunity to understand the RSPB's work to protect and maintain a healthy and sustainable Montagu's Harrier population in the region, and is a chance to make your bird-watching really count!

How to apply


Sarah Gelpke, Titchwell
Tel: 01485 210779


Appropriate training as for new surveyors with paired support from an experience volunteer, will be provided. All reasonable out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed. The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We rely upon memberships and donations to fund our work. By volunteering your time and skills, you could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB. The RSPB is the UK Partner of the global federation of conservation organisations, BirdLife International. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way.

Reference number 8209