Logo: RSPB


Research Assistant - Turtle Dove Tracking

Reference: FEB20212126

Location: Sandy, Beds

Salary: £17,004.00 - £18,255.00 pa

Duration: 5 months

This is an opportunity to apply new GPS-tracking technologies to solve a long-standing conservation question: what are turtle doves feeding on & what can we do to fix an apparent shortage of food? The project will be based in Essex (Colchester area) and will study how turtle doves use habitats in & around two large conservation interventions (Turtle Dove Friendly Zones).

What the role is about:

Turtle doves travel long distances to visit sparsely distributed feeding sites & then spend little time actually feeding. This has made it challenging for us to locate their foraging sites using traditional tracking methods. We believe that this may now be possible by using a combination of GPS logger tags & some lateral thought about how to retrieve the data stored on the tags. We aim to build a clearer picture of what feeding resources are used & test whether our conservation work is helping to provide them.

The role involves working in a team of two (with a licensed tagging specialist) & liaising with local conservation staff & landowners.

Specific tasks for this role will be:

  • To set up & bait trapping sites ready for the return of turtle doves in May.
  • To help a specialist ringer trap and tag turtle doves.
  • To relocate tagged birds and download GPS fixes of their foraging sites (this will require innovative combinations of radiotracking, remote sensing devices and local information).
  • To measure the vegetation at foraging sites (to understand what makes them suitable).

What we need from you:

  • A relevant degree or equivalent experience.
  • Practical experience of fieldwork on farmland birds.
  • Practical experience of radiotracking.
  • A BTO or equivalent bird ringing license.
  • Knowledge of & adherence to legal & practical requirements on protected species & habitats & for ensuring own health & safety.
  • Ability to use own initiative.
  • Willing & able to work flexible & long hours, be self-motivated & work efficiently within a defined work plan. Able to work positively & efficiently within a team.
  • Full driving licence valid for driving in the UK.
  • Good verbal communication.
  • Skilled in the use of Microsoft office software (ArcGIS experience would also be desirable).

Closing: 23:59, 05 March 2021

*We are actively recruiting for this role & reserve the right to pull this ad at any time.

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