Volunteer Opportunities

Want to help?

Macaw Project Volunteer in Peru

October - April or July-September

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 (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, radio tracking, parrot point counts, foraging observations, weighing and measuring chicks and plant phenology work. The position will also require extensive climbing with ropes and jumar ascenders. 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. By July 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, Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, (979) 458-0563, dbrightsmith@cvm.tamu.edu .

For more information see the Tambopata Macaw Project web site www.duke.edu/~djb4.



Slender-billed Conure Project in Osorno, Chile

The Slender-billed Conure Project is a conservation oriented research project run in collaboration with Dr. Tom White (USF&WS) and graduate student Ana Bertoldi , who is doing her Master of Science thesis examining the nesting ecology and movement patterns of the birds. We are currently monitoring the movements of collared parrots via telemetry and measuring habitat features and characteristics of nesting trees. 

This is the first formal research on a species that we know virtually little about, is endemic of this part of the world, and, has conservation problems and conflicts with farmers due to predation on crops. Given this, the research deals with describing the basic natural history of the species. We are developing the methodologies as we learn from the bids, and is thus, quite challenging and exciting.

The study is supported by Parrots International and other NGOs. Thus far, we have the basic equipment and supplies, but have no funding for the running expenses, which are basically covered from the pockets of the researchers. Thus, the project is not able to cover travel and living expenditures for volunteers.

The field activities include extensive field work around the city of Osorno in agricultural landscapes with large scattered trees. The actual work includes several activities such as finding nesting birds and their nests, measuring the nesting trees and the surrounding landscape, checking nests (climbing trees), capturing and collaring adults and chicks, observing nesting and feeding behavior of birds, tracking birds with telemetry and counting bird flocks in different study sites.

We use several techniques and ways of obtaining field data that you will learn, such as remote controlled traps, mist nests, measuring and collaring birds, GPS, aerial photographs, climbing techniques, measuring DBH, tree high, recognizing tree species, parrots and other bird nests, using spread sheets, etc. We are based at Universidad de Los Lagos , in the city of Osorno , which is a medium size city that has a safe environment.

This would be a very exciting experience for volunteers, considering the research itself, and also the local settings, which is in a region with beautiful forests, lakes, volcanoes, and dairy farms (Osorno is ca. 100 away from the Andes and also from the Pacific Ocean ). Aside from the research techniques, you would be able to learn the language and from the local people. We would expect volunteers to have their own free days for visiting several of the interesting sites around Osorno, all accessible with local transportation.

Please send your CV and the potential dates that your schedule will permit you to work with us. We prefer to accept volunteers that can stay for at least one month, as it takes time to learn the techniques and the local settings.


Jaime E. Jiménez, PhD Director de Postgrado
Laboratorio de Ecología Universidad de Los Lagos
Casilla 933-Osorno-CHILE
email: jjimenez@ulagos.cl
Tel.: 56-64-333104, 56-64-333100
Fax: 56-64-333106






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Parrots International: 15332 Antioch Ave. #417, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

updated: Dec. 11, 2008