Little Tern Advocate

Friday 16 February 2018
Vacancy type:
Office and administration, Showing people wildlife, Internships
Old Hall Marshes

What we're looking for

We face the risk of losing little terns from the Essex coastline and need your help to develop a public engagement programme and make it as success! We are looking for sociable and inspiring nature enthusiasts to be advocates for little terns around Hamford Water and the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries during the April to August breeding season. The role would include raising public awareness about the plight of little terns and how we can all contribute to protecting them during the breeding season; providing posters and information on protection and conservation of little terns and other beach nesting birds to identified community partners i.e.. marinas, visitor centres and tourist sites; promoting little tern recovery at one or two events, and giving short talks to beach using groups about safe behaviour where terns are nesting. The little tern is one of Britain's rarest breeding seabirds and has suffered chronic decline over the past 25 years in part due to the loss of suitable coastal breeding sites. They nest on sand or shingle coastal beaches near shallow, sheltered feeding areas where they catch small fish, invertebrates and surface insects. Little terns are struggling to find a safe place to nest on our beaches due to increasing recreational activities, climate change, habitat loss and predation. This has restricted them to the margins of the Essex coast, which offer ongoing challenges to both the species and the conservation efforts. As a partner in the national EU LIFE little tern project, the RSPB in eastern England has worked to increase the population of little terns through restoration, creation and management of breeding sites; monitoring and protecting nesting terns and their young during the breeding season; and increasing public awareness to ensure support for the long term protection of little terns. Numbers of nesting little terns in Essex seem to be on the increase, but we need to continue our efforts for their recovery.

The skills you need

An interest and enthusiasm for seabirds and other wildlife is beneficial with a keenness to learn about the identification and protection of little terns and other seabirds essential. An ability to be discrete with sensitive information and to use tact and diplomacy will be necessary. Mostly, we're looking for friendly and approachable people able to enthuse people about little terns and beach nesting bird conservation, and provide information to members of the public, local businesses and visitors. Minimum commitment: One day per week throughout the breeding season (April - August). Full training is provided in April and RSPB staff will provide ongoing support throughout the season.

Your time

On average 6 days per month
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. As an advocate - You will have a chance to learn more about little terns and other beach nesting birds, share your knowledge with others, and contribute to the conservation of little terns around the Essex coast. As a member of a small and dedicated team, you will have the opportunity to identify opportunities to engage with the public and improve the chances of this rare and delicate bird. Full training and support will be provided by RSPB staff. As the largest conservation charity in Europe, the RSPB can help you gain skills, meet a range of like-minded people, make new friends, and give you a valuable insight into our work. Your support will help to make a genuine contribution to wildlife conservation.

How to apply


Sarah Gelpke, Old Hall Marshes
Tel: 01621 869015


We would reimburse you for all reasonable out- of- pocket expenses, invite you to volunteer events, and of course give you ongoing support in your role. The RSPB is the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe working to secure a healthy environment for birds and wildlife, helping to create a better world for all of us. We belong to BirdLife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organisations. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and it would be great if you could join us.

Reference number 8568