Spurn Bird Observatory

WANTED: Voluntary Assistant Ringer

30 June 2017

Voluntary Assistant Ringer
Spurn Bird Observatory

There is an opportunity to help out with the long-standing ringing programme here at Spurn Bird Observatory. We are looking for a highly motivated person who is seeking to make a career in the area of ornithology and nature conservation.

This post is ideal for a C or A permit ringer (not suitable for a T permit) with a moderate level of experience and a high ethical standard, preferably of coastal ringing and processing high volumes of birds. The post will suit a keen birder. Large numbers of passerines are anticipated; over 10,000 birds were ringed during 2016, with 5,400 of those being caught in October alone. You will have several days when you are extremely busy catching hundreds of migrant passerines, these days will be intense and we expect you to be able to maintain high level of ethics throughout – always putting the safety of the birds first.

The role is to support the Warden, Assistant Warden and visiting ringers in catching and ringing birds in the Spurn area. You will be expected to work around visiting ringers and be flexible in your duties. As you will be regularly interacting with visiting and local birders, you’ll need to be sociable and be able to handle a variety of questions relating to ringing.

Duties will principally involve catching and ringing migrant birds, carrying out ringing demonstrations and engaging with Friends of Spurn, visiting birders and the wider general public and data entry. Maintenance of the ringing habitat, e.g. upkeep of net rides and repairing the Heligoland traps will be a key part of the role. You will also be expected to help out with assorted tasks when ringing conditions are unfavourable, including domestic duties around the Obs, habitat management on Obs land and project work in the field that involves manual labour e.g. mowing paths, painting benches etc. Rare birds are almost guaranteed at Spurn so someone who is keen to share news and help others see these birds would be ideal.

Length of stay is flexible, ideally we would like a ringer in place from mid-August to mid-November, but shorter stays will be considered for the right candidates. Preference will be given to those able to commit to a longer term, with the minimum stay being 4 weeks.

The position is voluntary, with self-catering accommodation (in a newly-built log cabin in the Observatory garden) provided. You’ll be sharing with up to 3 others in the cabin, with cooking facilities in the main Observatory building – all pots, pans, utensils etc. provided.

This is a very exciting opportunity to be part of one of Britain’s premier bird observatories at arguably one of the best bird migration hotspots in the UK. During your time at the Obs you will develop and learn skills that will be ideal for those looking for a future in the field of ornithology/conservation. You’ll also find yourself immersed in a friendly birding community with an excellent social scene.

• Ringing C or A permit from the BTO (or equivalent permit from other national ringing schemes).
• Aged 18 or above.
• Competent field ornithology skills.
• Familiarity, through proven practice, with a range of ringing techniques.
• The ability to assist with public ringing demonstrations.
• A high standard of ringing hygiene (i.e. regular cleaning of bird bags and the ringing lab).
• A reasonable level of competence in using a range of computer applications – word processing, spreadsheets and databases.
• Good practical skills when it comes to maintaining ringing habitat and catching traps.
• A willingness to work flexibly and responsively to meet changing day-to-day circumstances at the Observatory.
• Self-motivated, comfortable with manual tasks and happy to work long hours ringing birds when conditions are favourable.

• An interest and capability in at least one other branch of natural history – for example, plants, butterflies and moths, dragonflies etc. – or a willingness to develop such an interest and capability.
• Familiarity with photographing birds in the hand
• Physically fit and in good health.
• Your own vehicle.

If interested please email your CV including two referees (1 should be ringing trainer) before 16th July 2017

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