Tropical Bird Monitoring Intern

San Gerardo de Rivas, Costa Rica (CR)
$2 US/day stipend.
Jul 30, 2019
Oct 30, 2019
Job Level
Entry level

Founded in 2002, Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a private, non-profit cloudforest reserve in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. Beginning with the purchase of degraded farmland, Cloudbridge has been actively reforesting the area in order to connect the forests of the Cerro Chirripó National Park with adjacent nature reserves and forested areas. Beyond reforestation work, Cloudbridge is also committed to environmental education and conducting research on the unique and diverse cloudforest ecosystem.

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is looking for research interns to conduct bird point count and walking surveys for our ongoing bird monitoring study to start in September, 2019. Start dates in late November, early December are also available. Positions last a minimum of 11 weeks. A stipend of $2 USD/day is provided to help cover accommodation costs. Training and guidance will be provided.

Interns stay in one of our dormitories and share kitchen and living spaces with our other interns and volunteers. Dorms rooms cost $17 USD/night. Some private rooms with queen beds may be available (subject to current occupancy) for an additional fee. Food costs and cooking are the responsibility of the intern. A basic vegetarian diet typically costs around $4-6 USD per day.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Learn how to accurately ID, by sight, the 300 species of birds found in the reserve and pass a bird identification test within the first 2-3 weeks of arrival (study materials provided prior to arrival and onsite training provided),
  • Conduct point count and walking surveys in accordance with Cloudbridge’s Bird Survey Protocol under the direction of the Reserve Manager and Scientific Coordinator,
  • Enter survey data into the bird survey database,
  • Summarize collected data into a data report (report template and training provided) and give a presentation on the results,
  • Greet visitors at the Welcome Centre (rota shared between all volunteers and interns),
  • Perform required cleaning duties in shared living areas, and,
  • Participate in reserve activities and community events.


  • Keen interest in birds and birding; preference given to those with previous field identification experience (recreational experience accepted).
  • Schooling in ornithology, biology, wildlife or related studies; relevant work experience; and/or recreational birding experience.
  • Physically fit and able to hike 5-8 hours a day, 5 days a week in steep, high-altitude terrain.
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel an asset.
  • First aid training an asset.
  • Good English communication skills; ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Ability to communicate in Spanish an asset.
  • Must be able to commit to 11 weeks.
  • Minimum 18 years of age.
  • Able to pay for your accommodation for the duration of your stay ($17 US/night).
  • Able to pay the $200 USD good faith fee upon acceptance. This fee is credited towards the last two weeks of your accommodation fees.


  • Ability to work in a small team.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to develop and maintain good relationships with others in a communal living environment.
  • Excellent attention to detail and adherence to survey protocols.
  • Ability to adhere to a survey schedule.
  • Ability to persevere and maintain quality work in difficult environmental and physically demanding conditions.
  • Demonstrate good judgement and common sense in a wilderness environment.

Locations/Working Conditions

  • Position is located in the montane cloudforest of the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica, adjacent to Cerro Chirrip National Park.
  • Survey trails are steep and at times difficult and narrow.
  • Altitudes range between 1550 m (5085 ft) and 2200 m (7220 ft).
  • Work hours typically between 4:30 am and 12:30 pm, 5 days a week; some variation depending on survey route and survey type.
  • Required to work outdoors under varying weather conditions.

Physical Requirements

  • Able and willing to hike 5-8 hours per day, 5 days a week, in steep and difficult terrain.
  • Able to work outdoors under varying weather conditions.

To learn more about Cloudbridge, please visit our website at and check out the Volunteer/Research section ( for more detailed information on the research intern program.

To apply, please submit your CV and two references, along with a brief cover letter to Jennifer Powell at In the cover letter, indicate you are applying for the Tropical Bird Monitoring Intern position, state your preferred start date, and how long you would be available.