Curlew Advisory Officer (CAO)

Curlew Conservation Programme: Seasonal Contracts 2020

The Eurasian Curlew is of serious conservation concern. There now remains less than 150 pairs in the Republic of Ireland; a 96% decline since 1990. Breeding productivity is so low that population viability analysis predicts that in the absence of any action, the Curlew will go extinct as a breeding species in Ireland within 5-10 years. To address this, the Curlew Conservation Programme was established in 2017, with Curlew Action Teams (CATs) based locally, working with local communities and landowners to assist Curlew breeding efforts. In 2020, this will progress as a partnership between the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.

Curlew Advisory Officer (CAO)


The Curlew Advisory Officer (CAO) should have a strong scientific/ecology background and have excellent interpersonal skills. The role of the CAO will be to survey for Curlews (in association with fellow team members and local NPWS as relevant) and engage local people on conservation efforts (namely through the NPWS Curlew Conservation Partnership, details of which can be found at The CAO will be tasked delivering local meetings including with agri-environmental planners responsible for GLAS Curlew plans as well as feeding back information to the Agri-Ecology Unit in terms of administration and technical matters. A detailed description of the tasks is provided below:


Stack’s Mountains (Co. Kerry)

North Lough Corrib (Co. Galway/Co. Mayo)

Sliabh Aughty Mountains (Co. Clare and Co. Galway)

Slieve Blooms (Co. Laois) and Co. Kildare


Starting Friday 20 March 2020, the primary focus of the CAO shall be to provide ecological guidance on measures to be rolled out in their area as well as engaging on and overseeing actual implementation of measures. This advice shall be shared with local landowners, Curlew Action Team colleagues, local NPWS Personnel, GLAS planners and other relevant parties. There will be an important element of public outreach to build a positive profile for Curlews in the regions and to engage locals, particularly landowners with Curlew, in efforts to secure the future of Curlews in their area. The CAO will be the link between measures on the ground and the Agri-Ecology Unit of NPWS who will be assimilating the experiences from the Curlew conservation areas, to inform the best approaches to Curlew conservation.

Category / Curlew Advisory Officer Focus

Surveys and nest finding

Surveying sites for Curlew occupancy 

Finding nests to enable conservation action

Advice on Curlew conservation measures

The Curlew Advisory Officer shall direct where measures are to be undertaken, using the budget available and with the consent of local landowners. The main elements are the erection of nest protection fences, predator control and the enhancement of habitat through capital works. Formal (e.g. demonstration/best practice management events) and informal (one-to-one) training and guidance shall be given to landowners involved in the scheme.

Local leadership and administration 

Directing the efforts of Nest Protection Officer and Curlew Champion (and CAT assistant where relevant)

As regards administration, the Curlew Advisory Officer will :

-engage landowners in the Curlew Conservation Partnership;

-draw up a simple management plan with participants; 

-record landowner effort (in terms of actions and hours) on a weekly basis, and will certify that landowners have engaged to a requisite standard in order to draw down reimbursement.

The CAO will also engage with the Curlew Nest Protection Officer and will record their weekly effort and results.

Ecological recording

The Curlew Advisory Officer shall document in their region all locations where Curlew are feeding and nesting. This shall require appropriate survey design and techniques and use of standard recording forms. Relationships should be built locally with landowners and others, including Curlew Nest Protection Officer, local Curlew Champion, NPWS personnel, etc. A high quality report is expected at the end of the field season.

Interface with agri-environmental planners

The Curlew Advisory Officer shall deliver formal and informal meetings with agri-environmental planners, particularly GLAS planners operating in their area, with the purpose of providing ecological training and appropriate transfer of knowledge on Curlew breeding and feeding locations so that synergies can be realised with GLAS participants. 

Liaison with project manager/local advisor/NPWS personnel

The Curlew Advisory Officer will report directly to the project manager in Agri-Ecology Unit. In the case of any companies or partnerships securing contracts, the CAO must still report directly to the project manager in Agri-Ecology Unit. Positive and proactive engagement with landowners, regional NPWS staff and other project operatives is a requirement of the post

Liaison with landowners and public

Explaining the purpose of the Curlew conservation efforts, gaining access to lands, being courteous and respectful, operating in a non-intrusive way and building a positive profile in the local area are all requirements of the post

Selection of Curlew Advisory Officers

A tender evaluation committee shall select one Curlew Advisory Officer for each area as advertised. In their tender, applicants are advised to clearly outline their costs, experience and expertise, in accordance with the Curlew Action Team application form. The following marking criteria shall be applied in the evaluation of tenders:

 Cost: 400 marks 

Experience: 400 marks (minimum required 200 marks)

Qualifications appropriate to the position: 200 marks (minimum required 100 marks)

Equipment and Logistics

The local Curlew Champion shall provide their own transport/fuel, etc. and this will be taken from the overall contract amount.

To apply please download and complete the attached application form and post it to Agri-Ecology Unit, National Parks & Wildlife Service, 3rd Floor, Custom House, Galway or email it to - 

All applications must be received no later than 5pm on Thursday 20 February 2020. 

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