Volunteer Field Assistant with The Macaw Society & RESCATE wildlife rescue center

Would you like to live in one of the most attractive and secluded areas in the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, surrounded by majestic mountains in the middle of the tropical dry forest, as part of a fantastic multicultural team while monitoring macaws & amazon parrots getting used to living in the wild? Add to that learning a new set of skills and great field experience being part of the oldest wildlife conservation center in the country and part of one of the longest parrot research groups in the Americas?

If this sounds good to you, 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 that Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center maintains.

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 recommended)


Volunteer activities: You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound, monitor behavior of reintroduced parrots and macaws, climb trees to check macaw nests (Dec-May), conduct wild parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots. They will also help prepare food items and refill wildlife feeding stations plus quantify how much has been eaten. They will also help to enter data to computers.

Qualifications: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree on Biology, Ecology, Forestry or related careers or in the last semesters, (4) Intermediate/advance Spanish level.

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). Good disposition facing new and challenging situations, able to work in a team under stress. Have both live and accidents insurance coverage.

Cost: US $30 per day

Position # 2:
Short term volunteer assistant (12 to 30 day stay recommended)

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. They will also help prepare food items and refill wildlife feeding stations, quantify how much has been eaten. 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.

Qualifications: Previous experience observing animals (captivity/wildlife), (2) appreciation for nature and wildlife, (3) basic knowledge of Spanish (not required but useful)

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.

Cost: US $40 per day


  • Position #1: 30 USD/day
  • Position #2: 40 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 volunteering@themacawsociety.org  

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”.