This post presents a fantastic opportunity to work on the first national survey of turtle dove – the UK’s fastest declining bird species. You will be surveying a stratified sample of 1km-squares in Kent – one of the key counties for turtle doves.
What the role is about?
The Rare Breeding Birds Panel and RSPB, with the support of BTO and Natural England, are organising the first national Turtle Dove survey in 2021. The turtle dove is one of the highest conservation priority species for the RSPB, and urgent conservation action is needed to prevent extinction following a decline of 95% between 1995 and 2018 (from the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)). A national survey is needed if our conservation work is going to be properly underpinned by evidence; it is required to enable continued monitoring of the population trajectory, as the BBS sample size is declining rapidly to the point at which a robust trend cannot be produced. In addition, it will refine our knowledge of current distribution to enable targeting of conservation intervention.
Surveys will aim to detect the presence and abundance of singing male Turtle Doves within each selected 1km-square, with two visits between mid-May and early August. The ideal survey period is from dawn until 0900.
A vehicle (for work purposes) and fieldwork equipment will be provided. A substantial part of the role involves outdoor, lone-working.
Key activities will include:
• Surveys of selected 1km-squares for turtle doves and other priority farmland birds, following national survey methods, between mid-May and early August
• Surveying of additional 1km-squares in Turtle Dove Friendly Zones (TDFZs) following the BBS transect method
• Data entry via an online web hub for national survey data and in Excel spreadsheets for the TDFZ survey data