Title of the project: Field work for breeding bird monitoring projects in Cyprus
Organisation name: BirdLife Cyprus
When: April-June 2022
Expires: Only one or two volunteers will be accepted for 2022, so early application is advised
Contact person: Christina Ieronymidou, Monitoring and Research Coordinator, BirdLife Cyprus, firstname.lastname@example.org
What sort of person are we looking for:
Excellent birding skills are a minimum requirement. Volunteers must be able to easily recognise all Cyprus breeding species by sight and sound or have sufficient field experience elsewhere to enable them to very swiftly get up to speed with Cyprus birds. Experience of birds of the Mediterranean region and of bird recording in scrubby habitats is an advantage, though this is not an absolute pre-requisite in the case of a very experienced birder. Also essential is the ability to follow specific field survey methodologies – the experience of field survey work is a big advantage.
Volunteer must be hard-working, independent and committed. Needs to be able to handle physical demands of long hours of field work without difficulty (summer daytime temperatures in Cyprus are regularly above 30 C). Must hold a valid driving license and be a good driver able to comfortably handle a ‘no frills’ pick-up truck on dirt tracks, driving on the left side of the road. Volunteer must also be able to navigate with confidence in relatively remote areas, so good map-reading skills and ability to work with a GPS are important.
Finally, the volunteer must also to have a calm, easy-going personality and be able to communicate with people of a different culture, remaining calm if encoutering illegal shooting and/or trapping while out recording in the field (see under ‘notes’ below).
Why we need you: The primary role of the volunteer will be to carry out monitoring surveys for common breeding birds, including the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, under the Common Breeding Bird Monitoring Scheme, as well as nocturnal surveys for owls (including the endemic Cyprus Scops Owl), Stone-curlews and Nightjars, and driven surveys for European Roller. The work will be all over the island.
What’s in it for you: Lots of attractive birds, great habitats, and a chance to spend some time in the Mediterranean, where the sun (almost) always shines. There is also the feeling of achievement that you will have at the end of the project, secure in the knowledge that you have greatly assisted with improving bird data quality and conservation efforts in Cyprus.
Financial support: BirdLife Cyprus currently has a limited budget to cover accommodation, living and fieldwork expenses for selected volunteers. BirdLife Cyprus will provide a fully insured vehicle and cover fuel costs. Volunteers will be expected to cover the cost of their return flight to Cyprus and part of their living expenses, should living costs exceed the modest weekly allowance to be provided. BirdLife Cyprus is taking every opportunity to raise funds for this effort and should further budget become available through these efforts, we will endeavour to cover as much of the costs to volunteers as reasonably possible. Volunteers will be expected to have their own insurance cover during their stay in Cyprus.
Though local BirdLife Cyprus staff and local volunteers are also involved in bird survey work, the visiting volunteer will often be required to work alone and independently within the framework of the bird monitoring programmes, as local resources are always stretched.
Field work is all over the island, in pine forests, agricultural terrain, scrubby, hilly areas and also open, rocky areas. Volunteer will be based near the BirdLife Cyprus offices, just outside Nicosia. Volunteer may be expected to spend a few nights camping at organised campsites (all necessary equipment will be provided), to allow easier survey coverage in the more remote areas.
Cyprus does have a persistent problem with illegal bird killing. If you have a tendency to get aggressive when seeing illegal bird killing activities then this is not for you. BirdLife Cyprus has an on-going and intensive surveillance programme and advocacy campaign aimed at tackling illegal bird killing.