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Cloud Forest Bird Monitoring - Mindo, Ecuador

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Life Net Nature

  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
Las Tangaras Bird Conservation Team
Las Tangaras Bird Monitoring Team

Ecuador Andes Bird Banding Volunteer Assistants

Cost-share volunteers wanted to assist with long-term avian monitoring and conservation in the Andes of western Ecuador at a beautiful forest protected area, Reserva las Tangaras:

December Team: December 6-19, 2021

(Includes Mindo Christmas Bird Count, birding in Mindo and at Bellavista Reserve)

Life Net Nature volunteer banding assistants help Dr. Dusti Becker and/or 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 51-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. Back or joint impairments, or obesity can make the project challenging. 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) - typically ranking first or second in the world for number of species counted.

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 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 lunch at the Bellavista Reserve. Airfare to and from Ecuador and expenses in Quito are not included.

Your cost-share donation contributes to stewardardship needs of the reserve, educational programs and materials about cloud forest wildlife, maintainance of trails and signs, repairs, preventing damage to the local ecosystem, and feeding resident hummingbirds. Cost-share donations provide around 25% 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, dustibecker@lifenetnature.org, for further details and for an application form. 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, dustibecker@lifenetnature.org. (Resume is optional, and helpful). Dr. Becker will send you more information and an official Life Net Nature volunteer application form.

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About Life Net Nature


3004 St Ann St, Butte, MT 59701, US

Mission Statement

Life Net Nature enhances wildlife conservation through citizen engagement, biodiversity monitoring, and science and policy initiatives.


Life Net Nature hosts volunteers on projects that enhance conservation of wildlife in biodiversity hot spots. Life Net volunteer projects emphasize avian conservation in Ecuador and giraffe conservation in Kenya.



Mon Dec 06, 2021 - Sun Dec 19, 2021
08:45 AM -  


Reserva Las TangarasMindo, NONEEcuador



  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Veterinary
  • Critical Thinking
  • Spanish
  • Environmental Education


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Must be at least 18
  • 2 weeks
  • Good physical condition, genuine interest in birds and their conservation, basic birding skills with binoculars, excellent mental health

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