FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS FOR BIRD ATLAS (9-month contracts) by WillLawrence


The Nunnery
IP24 2PU
Tel: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030

                                  (9-month contracts)


The BTO is a partnership of birdwatchers and professional ornithologists, all keen to understand what
is happening to birds, mainly within the United Kingdom. The charity is one of the world’s leading
impartial, scientific research organisations specialising in knowledge about birds. Although our focus
is bird populations in the UK, we are working with others on a growing international programme and
contributing to knowledge about taxa other than birds.

Our scientific research and field work includes programmes and surveys involving up to 30,000
volunteers, each of whose individual contributions are vital parts of the accumulated scientific
knowledge, providing an unrivalled national picture of birds in the environment. We are committed
to developing and advancing the science of ornithology through the involvement of volunteers,
innovative analyses and use of the latest data gathering technology. Our volunteers are encouraged,
organised and supported by an active and committed network of more than 150 volunteer regional
representatives and survey organisers, our local ambassadors.

We are interested in the context of changes in distributions and trends in wildlife populations in
relation to their ecology and the habitats on which they depend. We are a major custodian of wildlife
data, including over 100 million records of, mainly, bird species, and long-term datasets, some of
which have been in place for at least 50 years. We are committed to making our information and data
available so as to optimise their use for nature conservation, land management, policy making and
applied scientific purposes. We publish scientific results and provide impartial scientific advice.

We work in partnership with others in the academic and conservation science communities, with
Government Departments and Agencies, and with the private and voluntary sectors. We have a
unique combination of professional scientists and volunteers, highly valued data and information, and
modern surveys with web-based on-line data entry and retrieval.

Field Ornithologists

We are looking to recruit professional field ornithologists for the Bird Atlas 2007-11 project. This
important project aims to map the distribution and relative abundance of species across Britain and
Ireland in both the winter and breeding season. We are now half way through the four year project
and have made excellent progress in many areas. There are, however, gaps in coverage in Scotland,
partly due to the small number of active birdwatchers living in those areas, but also to the remote
nature of the areas. This is an exciting opportunity for fit, keen and experienced field ornithologists to
visit some of the most remote, and beautiful, parts of western Scotland.

We envisage one field ornithologist will be based in Argyll and travel to sites largely within the
county. Another field ornithologist would ideally be based within travelling distance of sites in the
west, north-west or south-west of Scotland. We are willing to consider a job share for applicants
living within striking distance of the main fieldwork areas and welcome applications from those
wanting to work part-time.

Principal Responsibilities

To undertake fieldwork from 1 November 2009 to 28 February 2010 and from 1 April to 31 July
2010. Fieldwork will be primarily Timed Tetrad Visits, with some time spent gathering Roving
Records. We would expect a full-time field ornithologist to be able to cover around 24 tetrads each
week (minimum of 1 hour visits).

To input data on a regular basis to keep up-to-date with paperwork.

To plan fieldwork for the breeding season during March 2010.

To work closely with the Atlas Coordinator and the Scottish Atlas Organiser to plan fieldwork.

To liaise with landowners as necessary.

To undertake other duties as required.

Skills Required

To be physically fit, capable of walking in a range of landscapes, often in quite rough terrain.

The ability to read a map and use a GPS to calculate grid references.

Excellent fieldwork and bird identification skills (both visual and aural) are essential.

The ability to work in the field on an out-posted basis with a minimum of supervision.

The ability to collect, record and process data in a meticulous manner.

The initiative to deal with types of problems that may routinely arise during the course of fieldwork.

An ability to learn and implement new field techniques.

An ability to understand the underlying rationale for approaches adopted in the field.

Good interpersonal skills (e.g. in dealing with landowners, farmers, gamekeepers and other

Good electronic data management skills, including experience of inputting and manipulating
spreadsheets would be desirable, though field skills are of prime importance.

A current driving licence is essential.

Fieldwork will often need to be undertaken very early in the day during the breeding season,
and at remote locations. As such, an ability and willingness to work flexibly, often in unsociable
hours, is essential.

Salary Scale

Contracts will be for nine months, with a salary of £15,738 per annum pro rata. The post have a leave
entitlement of 25 days per annum pro rata. The post-holder will qualify for life assurance and be
entitled to join the BTO Group Personal Pension scheme after three months’ service.

There is a likelihood of repeat contracts being offered to successful post-holders for the 2010-2011


The completed application form should be supported by a CV and the names and addresses of two
employment referees (one of which should be your current or most recent employer and preferably
your line manager).

Completed applications should be forwarded to Vicky Percy, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford,
Norfolk, IP24 2PU. The closing date for receipt of applications is 1pm on Tuesday 15 September

It is anticipated that interviews will be held during the week 21-25 September at the BTO Scotland
Offices in Stirling.

For further information or an informal chat about these posts, please contact Dawn Balmer on 01842
750050 weekdays between 09:00 & 17:00 or Bob Swann on 01862 894329 (e-mail:

Please also note that we welcome prospective applications at any time.

Job Description/AtlasFieldO2009
24 August 2009


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