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  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
  • 1 person is interested

The Macaw Society & RESCATE Wildlife Rescue Center: Volunteer Field Assistant in Costa Rica

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ORGANIZATION: The Macaw Society

  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
  • 1 person is interested

Would you like to live in a beautiful, secluded place in the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, surrounded by rolling hills and wildlife-rich tropical dry forest, as part of a fantastic multicultural team monitoring macaws?

Join the collaboration between the oldest wildlife rehabilitation center in the country and one of the longest-running parrot research groups in the Americas to learn a new set of skills and gain great field experience collecting field data to help make parrot conservation happen.

Come and join our team of dedicated volunteers!!

Volunteers should be self-disciplined, responsible, enthusiastic, and patient. You should also be able to tolerate moderate insect levels, and hot weather (85-90F/30-33C). You must also be able to get along well with others in a remote field setting.


Bosque Escondido Wildlife Refuge, a 1,800 acre dry tropical forest in the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the two release sites owned and maintained by Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center ( )

Available Positions

We have two different types of positions that are available year-round.

Position #1: Long term volunteer assistant (8 weeks minimum, 3 months stay preferred)

  • Requirements: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree in Biology, Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife Sciences, or related careers or close to graduation, (4) Intermediate/advanced Spanish level (useful but not required).
  • Volunteer activities: Volunteers will trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound, climb trees to check macaw nests (Dec-May), monitor parrot behavior, conduct parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots and enter data.
  • Additional requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, no fear of heights (Dec-May).

Position # 2: Short term volunteer assistant (14 to 42 day stay preferred)

  • Requirements: Previous experience observing animals (captivity/wildlife), (2) appreciation for nature and wildlife
  • Volunteer activities: These assistants will be quickly trained to identify all the local parrots by sight and become experts at parrot behavior monitoring in reintroduced wildlife feeding stations. Due to the short length of stay, volunteers will have only minimal involvement in activities requiring higher training levels like parrot censuses and tree climbing. Assistants will also help with data entry.
  • Additional requirements: Average physical condition, ability to walk 2 km over moderate terrain, good sense of observing animals, ability to stay seated for long periods of time, some background knowledge of birds in general.


Volunteers need to pay a daily fee according to the position and experience:

  • Position #1: 30 USD/day
  • Position #2: 45 USD/day

*A one-time processing fee of $30 will be added for all volunteers.

This rate covers food, non-bar beverages, unlimited tea and coffee, and accommodations (bedding is provided). All volunteers will be charged an airport transfer to be picked up ($20) or dropped off ($10) at the airport plus an extra cost to be transported to the release site (private transportation or reduce cost transportation) in the Nicoya Peninsula. Once a volunteer was accepted they will be sent an invoice by email from Texas A&M University. Upon receipt, the volunteer needs to pay 20% of the total cost of their stay. This non-refundable payment is required to hold the reservation for the assistant. The remaining 80% of the payment should be made at least two weeks before the assistant arrives at the release site. Arrangements can be made if assistants wish to pay in cash in the country. However, prior permission from the coordinator is needed. Changes to the daily fee may apply according to availability and season.

How to apply

To apply please send an email to

This email should contain the following:

  1. A letter of interest explaining why you want to work with us
  2. Your CV or resume
  3. Email addresses for at least 3 references
  4. The range of dates when you will be available and how long you can participate. For example, you may say something like "any 20-day period between March and July 2015".

More opportunities with The Macaw Society

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About The Macaw Society


668 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy, VIDI Building 1813, Texas A&M University, Texas, College Station, TX 77843, US

Mission Statement

The Macaw Society studies the various aspects of the ecology of large macaws and parrots to help us better understand the interactions among clay lick use, food supply, breeding season, breeding success, abundance, and movements. Our mission is to collect scientific information that produces clear documentation of the natural history, ecology, and conservation of parrots and macaws in the Neotropics and make it available to scientists, researchers, and the public. Our vision is to efficiently use our findings to direct conservation of parrots and macaws in Peru and other areas where psittacine are declining and at risk of extinction as well as to establish new research and conservation alliances in the Americas and beyond.


The Macaw Society has been working in the lowlands of southeastern Peru for more than two decades. Drs. Brightsmith and Vigo-Trauco are now leading its expansion to new areas in the Neotropics through a broad array of collaborative projects focused on the ecology and conservation of psittacines.

We have lots of experience developing the management techniques needed to help the recovery of wild macaw and parrot populations. We have been successfully using nest boxes and foster parent techniques to help increase reproduction and habitat management techniques to help preserve clay licks and palm swamp nesting areas.

As of 2022, we have almost 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles published about psittacines from Peru, Costa Rica, USA, Guatemala, and Mexico (considering only publications with Dr. Don Brightsmith as an author). This includes 41 publications with data from Tambopata and 28 including data collected by volunteers.

We work closely with young Peruvian and foreign assistants to help them gain the skills they need for conducting research. Students interested in conducting their own independent studies for coursework, or theses at the undergraduate, master, or doctoral levels are encouraged to apply to study one of the many aspects of macaw and parrot biology at our research sites in Peru (Tambopata) or Costa Rica (Central Pacific Coast).


Animals, Environment


We'll work with your schedule.


Pilas de Canjel,450 m oeste de la escuela Billo ZeledonRescate Animal Rescue Center (Zoo Ave)Lepanto, Puntarenas 60104Costa Rica



  • Veterinary
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Environmental Education
  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Botany
  • Spanish


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Must be at least 16
  • Orientation or Training
  • Activities are organized in 3 work shifts to take advantage of daylight hours & avoid being in the forest in the hottest hours of the day. Early morning: 5 - 7:30 am. Morning: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm & Afternoon: 3:30 - 5:30 pm. 1 day off per week.
  • Some knowledge of Spanish is recommended but not require.

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