Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme: new research paper & a job vacancy

The Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme (SRMS) is a fine example of credible, effective & genuine partnership-working for the benefit of raptor conservation. That’s probably because its membership doesn’t include any representatives from the game-shooting industry.

Established in 2002, the award-winning SRMS now includes nine partner organisations (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Scottish Natural Heritage, British Trust for Ornithology, Scottish Raptor Study Group, RSPB, Forestry Commission Scotland, Rare Breeding Birds Panel and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club) who all collaborate to collect and analyse data on Scottish raptor populations. These data provide the Scottish Government with the information it needs to meet its international reporting responsibilities and they are also used to help inform local authority planning applications and a wide array of conservation applications.

A new scientific research paper on the SRMS’s experiences and approach to nationwide raptor monitoring has just been published in the journal Bird Study. The paper is available in full here: the scottish raptor monitoring scheme recent developments in good practice monitoring

Here’s the abstract:

The work of the SRMS has been coordinated in recent years by Dr Amy Challis but Amy is going on maternity leave from early March so the position of Scottish Raptor Monitoring Coordinator is now available for an initial period of one year.

Make no mistake, this is a challenging role, not helped at all by SNH’s disgraceful decision last year to licence the mass killing of ravens in Strathbraan ‘just to see what happens’. Aside from the very obvious scientific flaws with that licence, as described by SNH’s own Scientific Advisory Committee (here), SNH’s behaviour exacerbated a deep mistrust amongst many members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group, some of whom are now wondering whether to submit their hard-won raptor monitoring data to the SRMS because they can’t be sure that SNH won’t utilise the data for other dodgy ‘experiments’.

It’s quite telling that the job application form for the post of Scottish Raptor Monitoring Coordinator includes the following information about what will happen at the interview stage:

Candidates will be asked to imagine that they are giving a short presentation to a group of raptor workers and their aim is to convince them of the value of collaborating in a modernised and inclusive monitoring scheme, with particular focus on the benefits and risks of sharing data with a range of stakeholders (maximum 10 minutes; laptop and projector available for a presentation if desired)’.

Having said that, the SRMS is currently updating its data use and sharing policy which will hopefully provide a greater level of confidence to raptor fieldworkers that their data will only be used for genuine conservation purposes and only with their express permission on a case-by-case basis.

The deadline for applying for this job is 5pm on 10th January 2018 (this Thursday). A job description and details of the skills required and how to apply can be downloaded here:


3 Responses to “Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme: new research paper & a job vacancy”

  1. January 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Simply put, as you have suggested, it is a disgrace that an organisation such as SRMS needs to restrict its data use, likely by SNH, the expected leader in biodiversity research and implementation in Scotland. A disgrace, but realistic if SRMS wishes to retain its integrity and the support of fieldworkers.

  2. January 8, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Rumours coming out of SNH suggest that the raven debacle is not over yet. Looks like they might be set to ignore the scientific advice they received from their expert panel and push ahead with the same old dodgy data and poorly designed experiment…..just to see what happens…..
    Let’s remember that the panel confirmed that there was no credible argument in experimenting with ravens in the first place.

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