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Volunteer & Research Wildlife & Nature Travel Opportunities by Country


Costa Rica

INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR BIRD MONITORING IN COSTA RICA -- We have openings for Volunteer Bird Banding Interns at a bird monitoring station in the coastal Caribbean town of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Positions are available throughout the year with the minimum length of stay around 2 months. Participants are expected to have experience in identifying birds, and they usually have removed from mist nets and processed at least 200 landbirds. The Primary Bander will have extensive experience operating a capture station and can be awarded up to half their airfare to and from San José, Costa Rica. Latin American Volunteers are especially encouraged and may be eligible for other reimbursements. All volunteers receive their room and board while they are staying at the well-appointed station of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, Estacion Biologica, in Tortuguero cccturtle.org/ccc-costarica.htm. We and our collaborators in Costa Rica have been operating five monitoring stations near the village for over a decade. We operate mist nets for resident and migrant species and conduct migration censuses of the millions of diurnal migrants moving along the coast. For more information see www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/wildlife/birdmon/landbird/tortuguero/ Positions will be open until filled. Please send (email preferred) a resume highlighting your bird banding experience, ability with Spanish, dates available, three references and any questions to PABLO A. HERRERA (EM: paherrera AT fs.fed.us), and Dr. C. John Ralph, (EM: cjr2 AT humboldt.edu, PH: 707 825-2994 FX: 707 825-2901), U.S. Forest Service, Redwood Sciences Laboratory, 1700 Bayview Drive, Arcata, California 95521.

FIELD BIOLOGIST – Amigos de las Aves, Costa Rica. 2008 – Amigos de las Aves, http://www.hatchedtoflyfree.org, a non profit organization founded in 1992 by Richard and Margot Frisius, formed a re-introduction program in Costa Rica with the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambigua). Our program has grown over the years to be a highly successful project with possibly the largest collection of Great Green Macaws in the world. We have two release sites in Costa Rica at the present time. We have a comprehensive data collection study including nesting, behavioral aspects, feeding regimes and integration. We are always interested in enhancing the study as our program grows, but we do not wish our birds electronically tagged. We are seeking a ‘field biologist’ to join our team. To work at all our release sites, based primarily at one, supervising all the sites and building any new sites.
You may be required to work on your own at times and you will supervise students/volunteers/interns/biologists and provide them with guidance according to their tutorial requirements. You will be required to provide up to date data input and reports, as well as articles for publication and scientific papers for submission, attend visits and presentations to congress. You will need to build up good relations at the release sites with the owners and the local community – especially as the locals tend to be very proud of their birds and provide vital information upon the birds whereabouts. Education within the community is also important. Security is paramount. You will need to have some basic understanding of the Spanish language. You will also need to apply for the correct permits to study which can be done within the country.
As we are a small but enthusiastic team, you will be expected to mix in well with all personnel, volunteers, government officials, site owners and the community. You will need to motivated, sensible, down to earth, trustworthy, loyal and enthusiastic and have a high level of integrity.
MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! We are looking for someone who is passionate about birds, preferably had ‘hands on’ experience and knows how birds think!
And are totally committed to conservation primarily, and have at least an undergraduate degree in a related subject. You will live on site and accommodation is provided. There is livable (for Costa Rica) wage of $300 per month. Weather may be unpredictable and can vary from very hot to very wet! and bugs and beasts abound. The position is available from Apr. This is a unique opportunity to experience a unique program and to enjoy these magnificent birds and beautiful country. Please apply sending a current CV with two references to att: MARTI EVERETT, Curator, Amigos de las Aves (EM: hatchedtoflyfree AT gmail.com).

BIRDING AND NATURAL HISTORY GUIDE: Immediate position available. Our small Eco-lodge on the Peninsula de Osa in Costa Rica needs an extra guide for the 2008 high season. Mid Jan-mid Mar 2008. Last week in Jan and Feb are most important. But a week earlier is preferred for training. Qualifications: Birding/ornithology background with experience in tropical biology and birding particularly in Costa Rica, ability to learn bird calls quickly, ability to study and absorb knowledge quickly, enthusiasm, pleasant personality, flexible, some Spanish language, good physical condition and interest in all natural history. A University Degree is not necessary. Birding is our main emphasis but we could consider a general tropical naturalist/biologist with some background in birding. We are located in the National Forest surrounding Corcovado National Park on the Peninsula de Osa. This area is said to be one of the most biodiverse places in the world with approx. 2.5% of the species found worldwide. There are many local endemic species and the birding is excellent. This is a great opportunity to get to know the area. We will need 1-2 weeks (depending on the applicants experience) for training.
Generally, work hours will be 3-5 hours in the morning and 2-3 in the afternoon. Or an approximate total of 6 hrs a day. Schedule is flexible and dependent on our occupancy. During most of the period there will be some amount of free time. We provide personal guiding so groups larger than 2 or 4 will be rare. Some interaction with our guests during down time is required. We will be full most of this period with some down time in Mar. Two meals a day are provided and there is a private house/room nearby for the guide to rent (very inexpensive, $60-$75 per month). Compensation for services is provided and arrangements negotiable. Earnings will be more than enough to cover airfare and some travel around Costa Rica. For more info about the area and our lodge, please view our web page (URL: http://www.osaadventures.com and for more info on the job opportunity, write to (EM: info AT osaadventures.com).

GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIPS FOR CANADIAN STUDENTS in behavioral ecology. I am looking for motivated students to join my research group at the University of Windsor to conduct PhD-level graduate research on the behavioral ecology of vocal communication in birds. Research projects are open-ended, but will involve extensive field work studying wild bird populations in northern Ontario, Canada or in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Field research will involve applying innovative research technologies such as interactive playback, multi-speaker playback, and multi-channel array recording to study communication and mating strategies of wild birds. Field work will be complemented by laboratory work and course work in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Lab-based tools include Canada’s most comprehensive sound analysis laboratory, a genetics laboratory, and advanced GIS facilities. Funding will be provided though teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or scholarships from the University of Windsor. Qualifications: Applicants must be Canadian citizens. Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree in biology or psychology, experience with field ornithology or field biology, a love of working outdoors in fairly remote locations, and a strong work ethic. Experience with mist-netting and re-sighting color-banded birds is a strong asset. Starting Dates: Field work will begin in Spring 2008. Lab and course work will begin in Sep 2008. Contact Information: Interested applicants should send an email to DR. DANIEL MENNILL (EM: dmennill AT uwindsorDOTca). More details about these positions can be found at www.uwindsor.ca/dmennill.

Costa Rica & Nicaragua

VOLUNTEER FIELD ASSISTANTS: PhD Student in need of 1-2 field
assistant(s) for research investigating the mechanisms and consequences
of avian insectivore declines in Central America between Apr-Oct 2008. I
am seeking highly motivated, reliable, and flexible assistant(s) to work
with me at Refugio Bartola (Nicaragua), Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve
(Costa Rica) and La Selva Biological Station (Costa Rica). I am
investigating the potential roles of several alternative mechanisms (in
2008 I will be focusing on food-limitation and microhabitat selection)
in the declines of rainforest understory insectivorous birds, including
ruddy-tailed flycatcher (Terenotriccus erythrurus), golden-crowned
spadebill (Platyrinchus coronatus), and several antwren species, in
rainforest reserves. I am also investigating the community-wide
consequences of the loss of avian insectivores for herbivorous
arthropods and plants. The field work will be varied, including foraging
observations, some mist-netting, nest-searching and observation, and
arthropod sampling, but the majority of the work will involve habitat
structure data collection and daily monitoring of bird and bat
exclosures. Assistants will be responsible for helping with all aspects
of the study, including bird location and observation, arthropod
sampling (using pitfall traps, flight intercept traps, visual
observations, and sweep-netting), canopy height estimation (using a
rangefinder), taking hemispherical photographs, establishing, checking
and maintaining exclosures, and general data collection and recording.
Field work is intensive, involving fairly long days, long hikes and/or
bicycle rides on often hilly and slippery terrain with backpacks full of
water and field gear. Applicants should have significant progress
towards a BS/BA (or higher degree) in Biology, Ecology, or a related
field. Previous experience with birds, arthropods, vegetation surveys,
or other field work is preferable but not necessary, but a strong
interest in fieldwork and the flexibility, durability, and tolerance to
deal with occasionally difficult conditions (heat, humidity, biting and
stinging insects, snakes, steep terrain) is essential. Knowledge of
English is essential and Spanish is helpful but not necessary, as we
will mostly be at field stations with other English-speaking
researchers; though a willingness to learn will greatly improve your
experience. The assistant must be detail-oriented and meticulous in data
collection; experience with collecting systematic data in a scientific
context is preferred. In general, applicants should be in good physical
and mental condition, and able to maintain a positive and humorous
attitude towards challenging and tiring work. In exchange for this,
applicants will obtain a variety of valuable research skills, and will
work in gorgeous locations with excellent birding opportunities. At this
point, I can only commit to covering half of the station fees plus all
transportation between field sites. I have applied for grants, and if I
receive sufficient funds I may be able to cover more, but I will not
know until Mar, at the earliest. Thus assistants are responsible for
transportation to San Jose, Costa Rica, and half of station fees
($5-$15/night, depending on location; includes on-site lodging, food,
and access to all facilities – laundry, high-speed internet access at
all sites except Bartola). Assistants must obtain necessary vaccinations
to work at these sites: typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A are required,
anti-malarials are optional). Visas are not required for US citizens;
citizens of other countries are responsible for obtaining any necessary
visas. Ideally, I would like one assistant for the Costa Rica portion of
the study (Apr 1 - early Jul) and another for the Nicaragua portion
(mid-Jul – early Oct). However, I will accept applicants who can commit
to at least 2 months. Exceptional applicants may be considered for
shorter periods. Please send a resume, letter of interest (describing
background, experience, available dates, and future goals), and the
names and email addresses of 3 references to: NICOLE MICHEL by email
attachment to [EM: nmichel AT tulane.edu (preferred)] or via snail mail
to Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 400 Boggs, Tulane
University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Please feel free to contact me at the
above email address for further information. Applications will be
reviewed and applicants contacted as they are received.

Panama

FIELD ASSISTANT (1) needed from mid-Mar to Jul/Aug for a study of fruit use and time of breeding in a resident passerine in Panama. The field work involves mist-netting, banding, and nest searching. The field site is lowland forest, there is dense understory vegetation and many biting insects. Field work involves many hours of hiking in the forest, in very hot and humid weather, from very early in the morning. Field assistants must be in excellent physical condition, be enthusiastic about field work, and have an interest in natural history, ornithology and animal behavior. Previous experience working with birds or conducting behavioral observations is an asset. We provide shared accommodations, reimbursement towards airfare, and a stipend of $500/month. Some knowledge of Spanish language is extremely useful but not highly necessary. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, resume/cv, and emails (and/or phone numbers) of 2 people that can provide references for you to IOANA CHIVER (EM: ichiver AT gmail.com) no later than 10 Feb 2008.

Jamaica
PHD CANDIDATES NEEDED (2) for an NSF supported project conducting research on the interacting effects of density dependence and climate on wintering Neotropical migrant birds in Jamaica. Students will be enrolled at Tulane University and co-advised by Drs. Tom Sherry and Peter Marra. Interested applicants should contact Tom Sherry (EM:
tsherry AT tulane.edu) and Pete Marra (EM: marrap AT si.edu) immediately. Competitive applicants will have strong letters of support, and good quantitative and ornithological field skills. Experience in netting, banding and re-sighting small active color-banded birds is particularly desirable. Start date Fall semester 2008.

Peru

MACAW PROJECT VOLUNTEER in Peru: Aug 2007 - Jun 2008. Join the ongoing macaw and parrot research program doing daily counts as hundreds of parrots and macaws come to visit the world’s largest parrot clay lick (see Nat. Geographic Jan 1994 for details). The study site, Tambopata Research Center, is located in some of the world's most diverse rain forests. The area boasts the highest avian diversity in the world (about 600 species) including toucans, trogons and 20 species of parrots. Good opportunities exist to see tapirs, monkeys and other rain forest specialties. The study sites include tourist lodges run by Rainforest Expeditions www.perunature.com an ecotourism company that supports the research program. Volunteers will share accommodations with company guides and other investigators. Duties will include observation of birds at clay licks, parrot point counts, foraging observations, weighing and measuring chicks (Dec - Mar) and plant phenology work. The position will also require extensive climbing with ropes and jumar ascenders (Oct - Mar). Applicants must be self-disciplined, responsible, patient, have no fear of heights, tolerate insects and hot weather well, and be able to get along well with others in remote field setting. Preference given to those with knowledge of Spanish. Six week commitment minimum, 2 - 3 month stay preferred. Volunteers must pay their transportation to Puerto Maldonado, Peru and $10 per day to cover the cost of food and lodging. To apply please send resume, dates of availability, e-mails for 3 references, and a brief letter of introduction to DON BRIGHTSMITH (EM: dbrightsmith AT cvm.tamu.edu) Texas A&M University. For more information see the Tambopata Macaw Project web site www.duke.edu/~djb4.

MACAW PROJECT VOLUNTEER in Peru: Apr 2008 - Jul 2008. Join the ongoing
macaw and parrot research program doing daily counts as hundreds of
parrots and macaws come to visit the world's largest parrot clay lick
(see Nat. Geographic Jan 1994 for details). The study site, Tambopata
Research Center, is located in some of the world's most diverse rain
forests. The area boasts the highest avian diversity in the world (about
600 species) including toucans, trogons and 20 species of parrots. Good
opportunities exist to see tapirs, monkeys and other rain forest
specialties. The study sites include tourist lodges run by Rainforest
Expeditions (URL: http://www.perunature.com) an ecotourism company that
supports the research program. Volunteers will share accommodations with
company guides and other investigators. Duties will include observation
of birds at clay licks, parrot point counts, foraging observations,
weighing and measuring chicks (Dec - Mar) and plant phenology work. The
position will also require extensive climbing with ropes and jumar
ascenders (Oct - Mar). Applicants must be self-disciplined, responsible,
patient, have no fear of heights, tolerate insects and hot weather well,
and be able to get along well with others in remote field setting.
Preference given to those with knowledge of Spanish. Six week commitment
minimum, 2 - 3 month stay preferred. Volunteers must pay their
transportation to Puerto Maldonado, Peru and $10 per day to cover the
cost of food and lodging. To apply please send resume, dates of
availability, e-mails for 3 references, and a brief letter of
introduction to DON BRIGHTSMITH, Dept. of Veterinary Pathobiology, TAMU
Mail Stop 4467, Texas A&M University, (PH: 979- 458-0563, EM:
dbrightsmith AT cvm.tamu.edu) and Peruvian Coordinator CAROLINA CAILLAUX
(EM: macawprojectcoord AT gmail.com). For more information see the
Tambopata Macaw Project web site (URL:
http://vtpb-www2.cvm.tamu.edu/brightsmith).


MACAW PROJECT VOLUNTEER in Peru: Jul - Nov. 2008. Join the ongoing macaw
and parrot research program doing daily counts as hundreds of parrots
and macaws come to visit the world's largest parrot clay lick (see Nat.
Geographic Jan 1994 for details). The study site, Tambopata Research
Center, is located in some of the world's most diverse rain forests. The
area boasts the highest avian diversity in the world (about 600 species)
including toucans, trogons and 20 species of parrots. Good opportunities
exist to see tapirs, monkeys and other rain forest specialties. The
study site is a tourist lodge run by Rainforest Expeditions (URL:
http://www.perunature.com) an ecotourism company that supports the
research program. Volunteers will share accommodations with company
guides and other investigators. Duties will include observation of birds
at clay licks, parrot point counts, foraging observations and plant
phenology work. Applicants must be self-disciplined, responsible,
patient, and able to get along well with others in remote field setting.
By Jul the no-see-ums can be rather bad, so volunteers must be able to
tolerate insects. Preference given to those with knowledge of Spanish.
Six week commitment minimum, 2 - 3 month stay preferred. Volunteers must
pay their transportation to Puerto Maldonado, Peru and $10 per day to
cover the cost of food and lodging. To apply please send resume, dates
of availability, e-mails for 3 references, and a brief letter of
introduction to DON BRIGHTSMITH, Dept. of Veterinary Pathobiology, TAMU
Mail Stop 4467, Texas A&M University, (PH: 979- 458-0563, EM:
dbrightsmith AT cvm.tamu.edu) and Peruvian Coordinator CAROLINA CAILLAUX
(EM: macawprojectcoord AT gmail.com). For more information see the
Tambopata Macaw Project web site (URL:
http://vtpb-www2.cvm.tamu.edu/brightsmith).

 

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