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Research Assistant - Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker (Full-Time) Flexible in UK.

Reference: NOV20218063
Expiry date: 23:59, 12 December 2021
Location: Flexible in UK
Salary: £18,100.00 - £20,080.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Annual Leave, Life Assurance
Duration:6 Months
Attachments: CandidateGuidanceNotes2021.pdf

RSPB is looking for someone with good organisational and communications skills in addition to the practical fieldwork skills needed to support a pilot project aimed at identifying whether breeding success of Lesser-spotted woodpeckers is limited by food supply, by providing supplementary food and monitoring nest outcomes. Lesser spotted woodpeckers are a rare woodland bird which is declining due to low breeding success and we are working with Woodpecker network and Natural England to identify ways of recovering their populations.

Previous research by RSPB and woodpecker network has identified that Lesser spotted woodpeckers fledge very few chicks in the UK and is thought to be due to an inability to find enough food during the breeding season. This project is to trial methods to test whether increasing food supply can improve breeding success.

About the role

  • The postholder will be responsible for siting feeders with attached monitoring cameras at RSPB reserves and will work with contacts at reserves to ensure these are maintained and data collected through remote communication and regular visits
  • In addition to recording information on the use of supplementary food by Lesser spotted woodpeckers, we are also interested in the use by competitor species
  • The post holder will also work with reserves staff to locate and monitor Lesser spotted woodpecker nests. A large amount of data will be collected, and they will expect to spend a substantial amount of time extracting data collected by monitoring cameras and recording this in a standardised way along with standardising reporting of nest monitoring
  • Please note that there will be a considerable amount of travel with overnight stays as the reserves are scattered across southern England, Midlands, and mid-Wales
  • As the post holder will be working remotely and largely on their own, they will be expected to manage their time and travelling to maximise data collection with minimal environmental impact
  • You will be expected to liaise with RSPB colleagues in the regions where you are working and to act as an ambassador for the RSPB in day-to-day encounters with the public
  • At times you may need to be flexible in working patterns, and comfortable working outdoors, sometimes in poor weather conditions and in a manner that ensures your own and others safety.

What we need from you


  • A suitable degree or equivalent experience in field data collection and collation
  • Knowledge of bird ecology and behaviour, conservation issues and scientific principles
  • Knowledge of licensing and regulations surrounding fieldwork e.g. protected species and habitats, schedule 1 species disturbance, health and safety etc
  • Practical field skills in identification and observation of bird behaviour
  • Ability to work in difficult conditions, e.g. weather and habitats, sometimes for prolonged periods in the field
  • Ability to be self-motivated, use own initiative to solve day to day problems and work efficiently within a defined work plan
  • Consistently and accurately record data in the field and collate and maintain electronic data as required, skilled in the use of Microsoft Office applications
  • Verbal and written communication skills to develop and maintain good relations with reserve staff, volunteers, and members of the Woodpecker network
  • Ability to travel widely in areas not served by public transport
  • Demonstrable experience of relevant research or survey techniques


  • Experience of woodland research or survey work.
For all application/role enquiries please contact - Paul Bellamy (Senior Conservation Scientist) -

Please note that you will be required to only complete an application form only where you will be given the opportunity to explain why you are best suited for this role.

Before applying to this role we would recommend reading through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of this advert.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer.