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Monitoring Endangered and Endemic Birds in Ecuador

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Life Net Nature

  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
Elegant Crescent-chest
Mist-netting to monitor local birds at Loma Alta

Bird Monitoring in the Loma Alta (IBA), Ecuador
(Esmeraldas Woodstars, Endangered & Endemic Bird Surveys)

December 28, 2021 to Jan 10, 2022. Rendezvous: Guayaquil, Ecuador

Become a Life Net Volunteer! Join Dr. Dusti Becker and Ana Agreda (MSc. Ornithologist) for an exciting 14-day conservation experience in the coastal cordillera of western Ecuador. Dr. Becker, a well-known tropical avian ecologist with over 25 years of experience in Ecuador, will lead the expedition with Ms. Agreda, assisted by Ecuadorian para-biologists, Pascual Torres and Mauricio Torres.

Our team will estimate the number of endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar hummingbirds, and survey for other endangered and endemic birds in the Loma Alta Important Bird Area, Ecuador (IBA). This unique birding destination has 348 bird species with many Tumbesian & Choco endemics: Red-masked Parakeet, Crested Guan, Rufous-fronted Chachalaca, Choco toucan, Gray-backed Hawk, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Ecuadorian Trogon, and more. Loma Alta is home to more than 20 species of hummingbirds, and 48 of 55 Tumbesian endemic birds, making it a HOT birding spot.

Volunteers will duplicate a 2013-14 effort to estimate numbers of critically endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar hummingbirds and also survey and mist net other endangered and endemic birds in dry forest lowland and moist forest uplands of the IBA.

At the end of the project, volunteers will participate in the annual Loma Alta Christmas Bird Count. We may also do environmental education activities about about endemic and endangered birds with village children and adults living in El Suspiro. Our Life Net Nature project advances scientific understanding of avian communities and provides local citizens with experience in hosting conservation-minded visitors.

Volunteers do observations of hummingbirds at flower stations, help set up and monitor mist nets, extract birds from nets, carry birds from nets to a banding station, and record basic ecological data. Bilingual volunteers may contribute to environmental education and ecotourism training Loma Alta. Volunteers will have some afternoons free to explore and bird around the IBA, including searching for Mantled Howlers and White-fronted Capuchin monkeys.

A 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. Airfare to and from Ecuador and expenses in Guayaquil are not included.

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.

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, but 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.



Tue Dec 28, 2021 - Mon Jan 10, 2022


Comuna Loma AltaEl Suspiro, Ecuador



  • Habitat Restoration
  • Environmental Education
  • Brand Development & Messaging
  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Botany
  • Spanish


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • This is a physically rigorous volunteer position and with tropical conditions. Volunteers will typically work 8 hr days, getting up before dawn to do morning research, resting mid-day, and resuming field work in the late afternoons.
  • Volunteers must be physically and mentally fit, able to hike 4 miles with a 20 pound day pack, use binoculars well, be capable with bird identification, and be patient and careful when making observations of hummingbirds.

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