Species Protection (Evening Nest Protection Volunteer)

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Available from 20 March 2022 to 4 June 2022

Would you enjoy joining a dedicated team of volunteers and staff looking after a protected species? Have you ever wanted the chance to play a vital role in an iconic Scottish historical conservation project? Then this role is for you! We are looking for evening watch volunteers to observe the osprey nest while the birds are incubating eggs. You do not need to have any experience in bird watching, just a positive can-do attitude.

We are looking for volunteers to watch over and protect the osprey nest for 4 hours a fortnight when our centre is closed for the day. In return, you will have a special opportunity and access to watch and learn about ospreys from the warmth and comfort from our observation hide. In this role, you will receive training to provide behavioural science information that started 60 years ago and learn about the forest that surrounds the nest.

The role takes place over 11 weeks between April to early June in 2020. With our site being a visitor hotspot sometimes the birds can become startled with out-of-hours visitors. Your role is valuable; you will not only observe and record osprey behaviour but you will care for the nests by managing responsible behaviour around the nest by visitors. In the absence of a nesting pair of ospreys, we would still be looking for keen volunteers to watch over the nest early in the season. This would prevent disturbance to ospreys looking to establish in the future.

This is a special opportunity to experience the forest at night as well as critical work to protect our ospreys in the UK. You will receive hands-on training and guidance to ensure you are fully supported before the excitement of the season begins.

What you will be doing as part of this role will vary depending on the species you are working to protect but could include the following:

  • Patrols of a breeding area to minimise damage caused to habitats.
  • Speaking to the local communities about the species and why we are working to protect it.
  • Nest monitoring during the breeding season.
  • Administration as required.

This role will require some key general skills, but a full induction, training and on-going support will be provided.

General skills and knowledge required may include:

  • Some specific species knowledge.
  • Willingness to learn and follow the various steps the RSPB is taking to save a species.
  • Ability to talk to members of the public
  • Able to volunteer during evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Able to work independently or as part of a small team.
  • Locations may be quite remote so access to transport is beneficial.

You will gain experience working on one of the most unique conservation projects in the UK. Our nest watch Osprey project has a rare and extraordinary history that saw the return of this charismatic species to this very site. As a Nest Protection Volunteer, you will also play a larger role in protecting Abernethy Forest, home to 20% of all the rare and endangered species in the UK!

As a valued team member, you will be part of an exciting team of staff and volunteers who do everything from guided walks, species surveys, to working in our shop. The project has a great mix of people, from long-serving, knowledgeable members to new fresh faces ready to learn and add value. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and make lasting life-long friendships.

You will have a dedicated line manager who will support you every step of the way. You will receive conflict management training and be fully supported in how best to manage potential situations safely and effectively. You will receive special, hands-on experience learning and contributing to our conservation efforts to protect one of Scotland's most iconic birds of prey, the Osprey as well as Abernethy Forest, home to many of the UK's rare and endangered species.

The RSPB will reimburse you for out of pocket expenses travel expenses, we will provide the equipment, training and any uniform needed for you to complete the role.