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Field Volunteer Assistant working with wild macaws in the Amazon rainforest of Tambopata, Peru

The Macaw Society
Peru (PE)
Volunteer position
Closing date
Dec 6, 2022

Job Details

Volunteer Field Assistant monitoring wild Scarlet Macaws in the Amazon rainforest of Tambopata, Peru

with The Macaw Society


We have been working in the lowlands of south-eastern Peru for more than two decades. Drs. Brightsmith and Vigo-Trauco from the Schubot Center from Avian Health from Texas A&M, are now leading its expansion to new areas in the Neotropics while continuing to monitor wild psittacine breeding ecology in Tambopata, Peru. Tambopata has been the core area for our research and monitoring of wild parrots and macaws since 1999. A long history of dedicated work has provided many insights into various aspects of wild psittacines. We are always looking to collaborate with anyone with a passion for conservation and biology. 

There are no qualification limitations, although most volunteers come from a biological or environmental sciences background. All applicants are welcome, as we can find a role for almost any type of volunteer. If you are responsible, enthusiastic, self-disciplined, and patient PLUS you enjoy being outdoors and working with wildlife, we encourage you to check out our volunteer assistantship opportunities.

We have different volunteer assistantships programs that require different levels of experience from amateur enthusiasts and birdwatchers to graduate-level professionals. Volunteer activities vary according to the position.

LONG-TERM VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT ( 8 weeks minimum, 3 months recommended) Starts Dec 22 

  • Activities: You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound in the area. To conduct wild parrot censuses in the forest and in clay licks, locate foraging parrots and enter data into computers. During the macaw breeding season, you will be trained to climb trees using rope systems and observe macaw behavior around nests. Activities include cooking and campsite set up.
  • Qualifications: (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). Additional requirements: (1) Good physical condition, (2) able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, (3) no fear of heights (Dec-Mar), (4) good disposition for facing new and challenging situations, (5) able to work in a team under stress, (6) have both life and accident insurance coverage.

SHORT VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT (15 days minimum, 30 days recommended) 

  • Activities: These assistants will be quickly trained to help our field team to work with ropes to be part of the team that stays on the ground when we monitor macaw nests and chicks. You also are trained to monitor macaw behavior around their nests. Activities may include cooking and campsite setup. 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.
  • Qualifications: (1) Previous experience observing animals in captivity or in the wild, (2) appreciation for nature and wildlife, (3) enjoying the outdoors
  • Additional requirements: (1) Average physical condition, (2) ability to walk 2 km over moderate terrain, (3) good sense of observing animals, (4) ability to stay seated for long periods of time, (5) some background knowledge of birds in general, ((6) have both life and accident insurance coverage


Essentially, volunteering is free. We take care of research permit costs, cover the costs of all staff, work to maintain training material, and also deal with all correspondence and various aspects of project management. However, our budget does not extend to being able to pay for all aspects of volunteer participation. As such you only need to cover food, accommodation, and other services provided by the field station. The costs are very reasonable. The daily fee is according to the position and experience:

• Position #1: 35 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 field station (private transportation by boat) in the Tambopata River. 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.

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


To apply please send an email to with the following information:

  1. A letter of interest explaining why you want to work with the society
  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”.



The Macaw Society (previously known as the Tambopata Macaw Project) is a long-term research study of the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots lead by Dr. Donald J. Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo-Trauco of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS). It started in 1999 in Tambopata, Peru and has expanded to Costa Rica and other areas in the Americas. Its 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. Its vision is to efficiently use our findings to direct the conservation of parrots and macaws in Peru and other areas where psittacines are declining and at risk of extinction as well as to establish new research and conservation alliances in the Americas and beyond.


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