RSPB recruit overnight “Protection Staff” to help guard hen harriers at 3 Northern England regions

Reference number: 7020214

Location: Northern England

RSPB’s Northern England region is recruiting for six seasonal flexible contract staff for overnight nest protection of hen harriers in Northern England. The posts will most likely be based in Northumberland, Cumbria (Geltsdale) or Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland, but with the flexibility to move elsewhere dependent on the location of a nesting attempt.


The main purpose of the job is to prevent disturbance/destruction of nesting hen harriers if a nest is found in Northern England. This involves carrying out overnight nest watches, the time and length of shifts to be coordinated by the Species Protection Coordinator. The nestwatch will commence once the female has constructed the nest and will continue until any young are fully fledged.

The  surveillance of nests will be overt, with the intention of deterring persecution, rather than a covert attempt to catch perpetrators in the act. Night watches will be carried out from a caravan and/or from a tent depending on where the nest is located.

Work will require long and unsociable hours in the field, often in adverse weather conditions. The Overnight Protection team will need to liaise closely with the RSPB staff and volunteers, and project partners such as the Forestry Commission, and maintain cordial relations with farmers and landowners on whose land part of the work may be carried out, as well as members of the general public. The Protection Staff should ensure that the nestwatch is carried out in a safe manner which minimises any disturbance to the birds, as directed by the Species Protection Coordinator.
These posts are entirely dependent on a nesting attempt occurring on site or in an area where RSPB are able to provide a watch. Overnight Protection Staff may be required to move dependent on location of nesting attempt – therefore flexibility over location is required.


£7.30 per hour

Hours & contract information

Hours: Part time, As and When required
Contract: Seasonal post dependent on nesting
Replacement post: No

Closing date: 14 March 2014

How to apply

For complete details of this post (including an application form) please download an application pack. When you return the application form, ensure that you include reference number 7020214 on any correspondence.

PDF version (248Kb, requires Adobe Reader )

Word version (248Kb, requires Microsoft Word)

Who to contact

For questions about this post

Send application forms to
Barbara Moore
The RSPB, Denby Dale Office, Westleigh Mews, Wakefield Road, Denby Dale, Huddersfield, HD8 8QD, 01484 868402

7 comments to RSPB recruit overnight “Protection Staff” to help guard hen harriers at 3 Northern England regions

  • Coop

    For £7:30 per hour, I’d want to be armed!

  • Skydancer

    What if a nesting attempt is made on the abbeystead estate in Bowland? in the unlikely circumstance that a female hen harrier would get as far as building a nest on this estate,does the Rspb really think that the landowner would allow them to put a caravan or tent up to watch over the nest.

  • nirofo

    Is the £7.30 an hour payment for skilled and experienced ornithologists or will anyone do at that price ?

    I await the outcome with interest if not in anticipation of a result !!!

    Editor’s Comment. The fact Hen Harriers don’t appear to survive very long on red grouse moors must be a major concern for the RSPB. More should have been done when there were still reasonable numbers of Harriers to protect on England’s uplands; the new initiative is like closing the stable door after the horses have bolted. Our concern is that even if there are a few nests to protect, we already know any fledged birds will soon disappear making all the effort pointless and expensive. We also wonder what the RSPB’s approach will be to find and protect nesting pairs on the private estates? These nests of course will be out of bounds to RSPB staff and their paid employees without the appropriate access permission from the land owner. It is very unlikely private landowners in the north Pennines, Yorkshire or in the Forest of Bowland will allow the RSPB or their paid wardens to set up camp on their estates to protect these nests or their content, there lies the problem.

  • bubo bubo

    No need to employ extra field staff, if any hen harrier nesting attempt are made in Bowland this year on the United Utilities estate, the RSPB already have a resident warden there they could use. If this year is anything like last year, there will be no other raptor nests for him to protect or watch.

  • This is what I call shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, the RSPB have stood by and done nothing as Hen Harriers have disappeared now they want to pay people to watch what is no longer there.
    If it wasn’t so damn sad it would be laughable, you can’t guard what isn’t there in the first place. Have the RSPB got so much money that they are willing to employ people to do nothing? It would appear so.

  • keith mills

    Do they realise that under the working time directive and the health and safety at work act, all employees must have at least 11 hrs between shifts, a break away from their work station after a maximum of six hours and cannot work more than 46hrs a week averaged out over a six week period. Also an employer is required to provide hot water, toilet facilities and a clean area for eating. Any hours worked between 20.00hrs and 06.00hrs is classed as premium rate so is payable at time and a half. Then there is the issue of providing suitable safety equipment, wet weather gear suitable footwear etc…. Is there a pension scheme? holiday and sick pay? don’t think they have thought it through? LOL.

  • keith mills

    P.S. they wouldnt want me anyway as im a falconer so would obviously only be interested in nicking the young to sell to the middle east for a small fortune! shame as ive got spare time and would do it for nowt.!