Volunteer as

Raptor Migration Counter


The 11th Batumi Raptor Count will be held from:

August 17th until October 16th, 2018

We are welcoming applications from March 2018.


Photo by Johannes Jansen.

What you should bring to BRC

You should:

  • have strong interest in bird migration and/or raptors,
  • be able to come for at least twelve days,
  • speak at least good basic English,
  • be able to focus on counting migrants in a standardized manner and follow protocol,
  • be able to endure a variety of weather conditions,
  • be able to manage a daily walk (30 min.) over rather rough and steep terrain,
  • enjoy being in an international group of people, and discovering new environments, places and people, where one's race, gender, religion, culture, sexuality, age etc. are not considered relevant.

Photo by Rei Segali.

Practical information

BRC will provide the following arrangements for counters:

  • Accommodation: The project takes place in a village of Georgia, where we develop year after year the comfort of accommodations and the quality of meals together with host families, but keep in mind that accommodation is basic. The guesthouses have several rooms shared by 2 - 4 people. Hot showers, toilets, washing machine are available and shared responsibly.  All volunteer accommodation is close to each other, and within walking distance of count station 1, the office and the green bar. Wireless internet is available in some houses and around the office, although irregular and often slow.
  • Delicious food provided by our host families: breakfast & lunch are prepared daily to be consumed on the counting stations and a hot dinner will be waiting for you at the end of the day.
  • Transportation: going to the stations and coming back is done on foot (station 1) or with regular BRC drivers in a minibus (station 2).
  • Days off: during your time you will have the opportunity to have some days off. Once per week you will have the opportunity explore the surroundings or take a rest.
  • Introduction and training: volunteers will receive a protocol by email, an introduction presentation on the arrival and some time on the spot to get used to the working environment. Some evenings, coordinators will give training presentation to identify groups of raptors.
  • Pleasant atmosphere: we will make sure the atmosphere is at it's best, and everyone can enjoy their time in Batumi. Good comfort for everyone is important, as well as a quiet and relaxed environment to work and rest in. During the season, volunteers and visitors can have a drink in the village "Green Bar".
  • A contribution of 38 GEL (about 15€) per person per day will be asked to help us cover the expenses for counters. Half season and full season counters will have a reduced daily fee (10 and 5 Euro per day respectively). As we are happy to have counters from Georgia in our count, these counters will also get it for free.

You can indicate the preferred duration and timing of your volunteering in the application form.


A flock of Honey Buzzards. Photo by Christian Gelpke.

What to expect?

As one of the major bottlenecks for raptor migration worldwide, you can expect to see lots of birds of prey. The season starts building up to the peak of Honey Buzzard and Montagu's Harrier towards the first days of September, during mid September there is a nice diversity with more species mingling in and towards the last days of September the numbers build up towards the peak of Steppe Buzzard and Lesser Spotted Eagle.

If you are not that experienced with identifying all those different raptors, who are usually not easy to identify, don't worry. We try to mix experienced and less experienced, and give new arrivals the opportunity to get to know the procedures on the first day(s) without actively participating in the count. Everyone will get a presentation about the protocol and will have the opportunity to attend several presentations about the hard to identify raptors (like harriers and eagles). The BRC is one of the best schools to get to know raptors better, and learn quickly about their identification, as you get plenty of opportunities to see multiple raptor species migration, in all their different plumages, at close range and further away.

If you are interested in more numbers, daily totals and phenology, have a look at our data center page.