Birding & Science Officer

Expected start date: June 2021 (flexible)

Location: Flexible; could be based anywhere in Scotland, with an option to work from SOC HQ at Aberlady, East Lothian, but will require an ability to travel to Aberlady and to SOC committee and branch meetings around Scotland.

Salary: £24-26k per annum

Benefits: SOC membership, 29 days’ annual leave (increasing to 34 after one year), pension scheme, maternity pay scheme, paternity leave.

Duration: Established, Full-time (part-time considered)

Closing date for applications: 5pm on Friday 16th April 2021

The role

We are looking to fill a full-time post to join SOC’s dedicated small team of professional staff, and to lead and develop SOC’s ornithological work as identified and prioritised by the Club's Trustees ("Council") through the recently formed Birding & Science Committee. This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with the SOC’s membership of over 3000, its 15 local branches across Scotland, and its dedicated volunteers, staff and Council to increase the Club's impact in delivering its charitable aims. The successful candidate will work with staff and Council colleagues to shape the role over time but key activities for which the postholder will be responsible in the short and medium term include:

  • Working with the Birding & Science Committee, SOC staff and branches and with key NGO and statutory partner organisations such as the British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and NatureScot to develop and fund a programme of national SOC activity.  Examples of projects may include, in the short-term, the publication of an overview of key knowledge gaps for Scotland’s birds; in the medium-term, the publication of an annual national overview of Scotland’s birds; and in the long-term, co-ordinating the SOC’s role in any successor to the Bird Atlas 2007-11 for Britain and Ireland.     
  • Co-ordinating the meetings and activities of the Birding & Science Committee, chaired by the Vice-President Birding & Science.
  • Working to develop, strengthen and support the network of Local Bird Recorders and Local Bird Reports across Scotland, both by organising biannual Local Bird Recorder meetings and maintaining the Online Scottish Bird Report (OSBR).
  • Representing SOC as a BirdTrack partner, including attendance at partnership steering group meetings.
  • Providing advice, training and support to SOC branches (indoor meetings and field activities) and HQ in relation to developing interest, skills and capacity in bird recording and research, including in support of SOC initiatives to develop and support young birdwatchers.
  • Providing general ornithological and birding advice and support to colleagues at SOC HQ in relation to, for example, bird identification queries, birding sites in Scotland, birders’ online resources, birding technology (e.g. optics, photography, acoustic recording) and external data requests.
  • Providing ornithological support to the SOC Development and Communications Officers and Scottish Birds editors through supply of ideas and content for key SOC communication channels, including Scottish Birds, The Hoot, and SOC social media channels.
What we need from you


To be an active, knowledgeable and visible member of the Scottish birding and bird recording community.

To be passionate about making birding and bird recording useful for conservation purposes and to help and support others in developing their birding and bird recording skills and interests. 

To be an enthusiastic and cogent communicator, both in person and in writing, and willing to engage with and influence a wide range of audiences – from professional contacts in partner organisations and attendees at conferences, branch meetings and training courses, to the birding press and the wider media.

To be a strong team-player and have good interpersonal skills, suited to working as an integral part of the SOC’s small core staff team.

To be willing to travel around Scotland, and able to thrive on a work programme with both field and desk-based components. 

To have good general IT skills (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet management and presentation using Microsoft Office software).

To be self-motivated and have good organisational skills in planning and prioritising a diverse work programme.

A clean driving licence and access to a car.


Experience in the management of ornithological datasets using online software and databases.

Experience of publishing articles in popular birding and ornithological journals/magazines.

Experience in social media communications.

Experience of grant funding applications in ornithology and conservation.

To Apply

Please email your CV and a covering letter to the Club Administrator, Wendy Hicks by 5pm, Friday 16th April 2021.


Whitethroat in Hawthorn © Edmund Fellowes