Little Tern Volunteer Warden - Eccles and Winterton

Join our friendly team of wardens protecting the beach nesting colony at Winterton-on-Sea. You will learn to monitor and protect our rarest seabird, inspire visitors, and celebrate local wildlife!

Wednesday 24 February 2021
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation
Various locations

What we're looking for

The little tern is one of the UK's rarest seabirds and has suffered chronic decline over the past 25 years. Human intervention and intensive management of breeding sites have helped to stabilise little tern populations, but they still struggle to breed and raise young successfully on our shores because they are easily disturbed by beach visitors and predators, as well as rising sea levels and habitat loss. They also share their colonies with other beach nesting birds, including ringed plovers. This volunteer role is to join an existing group of beach nesting bird volunteers at Eccles-on-sea and Winterton-on-sea in east Norfolk. East Norfolk has historically been a stronghold for the species, yet their breeding population has fluctuated in recent years. The RSPB and partners seek to help recover their populations to a stable and sustainable level, but we need your help. Your role would include talking to beach visitors about the threats they face and how everyone can do their bit to help protect them. You would also monitor adults, nests and young, record predator activity, and assist with the protection of these important colonies. NOTE: If this specific role of practical conservation and public engagement does not suit, we encourage you to contact us if you have other skills around community engagement or organisation and administration, as you could still play an essential role in supporting the beach nesting bird colonies. It only takes a few passionate volunteers to change their fate!

The skills you need

You should be fairly physically fit, able to negotiate steps down to the beach, and walk some distance along it. You should also be comfortable with visiting the colonies in all weather conditions. You will need to be willing to learn about little terns and engage with beach visitors to raise awareness about these fragile, beach nesting birds.

Your time

Minimum half a day per week/one day per fortnight throughout the summer season (May – September)
May – 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. Imagine spending time this summer on some of the most beautiful beaches on our coast, directly contributing to the conservation of these wonderful birds. If this sounds appealing, then we would like to hear from you! Full training and support is provided, and as part of the friendly little tern team, you will gain both practical and people skills, learn more about the RSPB conservation work, and make a real difference to this unique and invaluable project supporting beach nesting birds. You will learn more about little tern conservation and ecology and witness the drama of an active tern colony, following the story of these endearing birds as they raise their young from tiny bundles of fluff to intrepid fledglings, before they fly 3000 miles to West Africa for the winter! You will also have the chance to observe other wildlife including birds, butterflies, seals, coastal plants and dolphins around the colony. Testimonials from Volunteers: "Seeing the little terns on the beach....a thing that come all this way, and to lay its eggs just on the ground, it's amazing!" - Peter "If you haven't seen a little tern "waving" a fish almost as big as itself then you haven't lived! Brilliant little birds!" - Caroline "I think little terns get under your skin, once you get to know them, once you watch them, you can't really abandon them. They are incredible, incredible birds and what they actually do is break your heart year after year". - Ali

How to apply


Alice Skehel, Eastern England Regional Office
Tel: 01603 660066
Email: Alice.Skehel@RSPB.ORG.UK


All volunteers will be asked to complete a Covid-19 susceptibility assessment before volunteering, and this may result in you not being able to get involved on the beach this breeding season. Opportunities to volunteer are all subject to Covid-19 restrictions during the breeding season, as a key part of the role involves engaging with members of the public. Appropriate travel (25 miles max) and other expenses may be reimbursed. The RSPB works for a healthy environment rich in birds and wildlife. It relies on the support and generosity of volunteers to make a difference. The RSPB is the largest UK charity 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 9331