Our earlier announcement for volunteering to guard nests of Imperial Eagles was quite successful. Almost hundred people applied for the season start in April. Thank to them, we could organize guarding camps in the Jászság, the Hevesi-sík and the Nagy-Sárrét at once.
The Jászság was the most popular among our volunteers; thus we could fill up the whole breeding season here, however; we still can accommodate others in the Heves and Nagy-Sárrét region.
If all goes as planned, we will guard Eagle nests rotating volunteers for six consecutive weeks. Our first shift was less eventful for the Eagles but more exciting for our guards, and now the second team is on duty.
The first team of volunteers of the 2014 nest guarding season within the
HELICON LIFE+ programme in the Jászság area (Photo: Imre Fatér).
Volunteers should watch the nest from 1 km distance in order to avoid any disturbance, but to be able to collect useful information about their behaviour. Telescopes and binoculars are provided, however, one can bring his own, of course.
The aim of this action is twofold. Most importantly, it targets to protect the breeding population (which represents two-third of the EU population) of the globally endangered Eastern Imperial Eagle from any disturbance or harm (e.g. poisoning, shooting, nest-robbing) during the breeding season. Noticing nay disturbance, nest guards should call the associates of the conservation programme by cell phone, so that they can act quickly. Moreover, they can also help conservationists by collecting data on the breeding behaviour of the Eagles through observations with telescopes.
Our volunteers rotate on a weekly basis, however, people willing to spend more shifts, are preferred. There has to be at least two and not more than four persons at the guard station. The Jászság area can be an exception to this, there could be more staff on duty if two nests are under surveillance at the same time. Best, if friends come together, but of course, there is plenty of time to make some in case someone arrives alone.
We cannot cover expenses of transportation; however, we have a gift for each volunteer. Of course, we take the nest guards to their base from the meeting point (railway station, bus station). If someone arrives by own transportation, we can arrange another rendezvous point, as required.
We enter into a contract with a volunteer, which describes the tasks, rules, list of equipment provided, the issues of data service, confidentiality and their own responsibility. We can give a certificate for students, if their institutions accept it, or if it is needed for other reasons.
Room and board
The basecamp is nomadic. We provide tent, mattress, bicycle, gas-stove, cooking pots, dishes and silverware. There is also a shower and toilet in the camp. One has to bring his own sleeping bag, however.
Basic provision of food is available, if you need anything extra, bring it! Where it is possible, we arrange hot food five times a week. One can use the bicycles to get supplies from the villages nearby, or we can also help occasionally.
Daily work schedule
Guarding should be done from dawn till dusk, preferably in two-hour shifts. At least one person should be in the guard all the time; the others can rest, or do shopping, etc.
Guarding sites and related meeting points
- Jászsági SPA (HUHN10005) – Jászberény
- Hevesi-sík SPA (HUBN10004) – Füzesabony or Kál
- Dévaványai-sík SPA (HUKM10003) – Kisújszállás or Gyomaendrőd
- Közép-Tisza SPA (HUHN10004) – Szolnok or Törökszentmiklós
The order above means the order of assigning people to a site. We will discuss with the participants about any rearrangements, if the situation requires that.
How to apply
One can apply via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you specify the SPA and the turn of your choice and contact information (name, email, phone number)
Please take into account the above mentioned order of filling up, of course travelling distance can be a factor, too.
We will send you a confirmation and call you before the turn starts.
We would like to thank all our registered volunteers and the others who are still playing with the thought of volunteering, and also wish you Happy Easter at home and in the field, as well!
Zoltán Orbán – Imre Fatér