Ecuador Cloud Forest Bird Banding Volunteer
December Team: December 6 – 19, 2020 6 POSITIONS OPEN
(Includes Mindo Christmas Bird Count, birding in Mindo and at Bellavista Reserve)
Life Net Nature volunteer banding assistants help Dr. Dusti Becker and other scientists monitor birds at the Las Tangaras Reserve, Mindo, Ecuador. The team advances knowledge about tropical montane forest bird communities, including community and species-level responses to deforestation, forest recovery, forest fragmentation, and landscape and climate changes. Your participation also contributes to sustaining a special protected area in the biodiverse Andes of western Ecuador.
Reserva Las Tangaras, a 50-hectare nature preserve, boasts more than 30 species of hummingbirds, dozens of colorful tanagers, the largest regional Andean cock-of-the-rock display lek, and over 300 tropical bird species, many of which are Choco and Andean endemics. The reserve is also home to endangered capuchin monkeys, spectacled bear, cougar, and myriads of other wildlife species, including several rare and endangered rain frogs.
Volunteers set up and monitor mist nets, help extract birds from nets, carry birds from nets to banding stations, and record ornithological and ecological data in the field. Training in handling, measuring and banding is included, but previous experience is desirable. The site is quite rugged, so volunteers must be able to hike on steep, potentially muddy and slippery terrain and cover 3-5 miles on foot per day. Volunteers will have time to explore the Mindo area, and the team will visit the higher-elevation Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve on the final day of the project. The December project includes participation in the famed Mindo Christmas Bird Count (CBC), usually either first or second in the world for number of species.
Accommodation is in a spaceous research cabin where each volunteer has a mattress with mosquito netting, a fitted bottom sheet, pillow, us of an indoor shower and flush toilet. Volunteers bring their own towel(s) and sleeping bag or warm quilt. Meals are delicious, home-style Ecuadorian, prepared by experienced cooks, and vegetarian and vegan options can be accommodated.
The cost-share donation of $1650 covers transportation in Ecuador, meals, and lodging during the 2-week conservation expedition, reserve fees, salaries for Ecuadorian cooks and para-biologists, and all entrance fees and special lunches and dinner in Mindo and at the Bellavista Reserve. Airfare to and from Ecuador and expenses in Quito are not included.
Your cost-share donation contributes to stewardship costs of the reserve, educational programs and materials about cloud forest wildlife, maintenance of trails and signs, repairs, preventing damage to the local ecosystem, and feeding resident hummingbirds. Cost-share donations provide ~ 35% of the annual funding to sustain this unique and important tropical protected area in the Andes.
This exciting conservation expedition begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador.
Contact Dr. Dusti Becker, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, for further details and for an application form (form also attached to this page). Experience with banding and mist-netting is desirable, but not required. Students, recent graduates and others looking for hands-on training and resume building experience will benefit greatly from this project. Participants also have the possibility to use team data for future projects including planned publications, undergraduate projects, or graduate degrees.
Visit https://lastangaras.wordpress.com/who-are-we/for more details about Life Net Nature and Reserva Las Tangaras.
To apply, email a brief cover e-letter detailing your experience and interest in participating on the team to Dr. Dusti Becker, email@example.com. (Resume is optional, and helpful). Dr. Becker will send you more information and an official Life Net Nature volunteer application form.