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Bird Rescue & Banding in the Tropics

March 4th-14th 2019

This trip will be a bird lover’s dream! It offers you a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of bird species while enjoying your lush tropical surroundings & perfect weather of Belize. (All while doing your part for the environment by helping the country’s endangered birds.)

Volunteers will spend one week at a tropical bird rescue and rehabilitation center, where we'll learn how to care for a number of different birds including parrots, macaws, raptors, toucans, and songbirds. We will train under experienced wildlife rehabilitators, gain clinic experience with expert medical personnel, acquire multi-species capture and restraint experience on rescues, gain knowledge of diets, husbandry and life-cycles of neo-tropical and migratory birds, and experience the multicultural life in Belize.  Not to mention plenty of playtime with the birds!

After our week of bird rescue and care, we'll end our adventure at a beautiful rainforest eco-lodge, where we will spend three days canoeing, hiking the jungle, swimming, relaxing in hammocks, and participating in bird banding.  We'll get to see all kinds of colorful birds as we learn capture & banding techniques for bird tracking. Knowledgeable guides will be on hand to point out wildlife and take us down the nature trails, after which we'll enjoy nightly dinners on the veranda overlooking tropical cliffs and the Macal River. This will be a vacation to remember!

Getting There

You'll be met at the airport and transported with the group to the rescue center, where we will spend a week there with shared accommodation and then be transferred to the jungle eco-lodge by van. We'll spend 3 days at the lodge and be transported back to the airport for our return flights home.

What will I be doing?

Mornings will begin at 7, and will be spent making diets for the birds, feeding and cleaning their enclosures, and participating in bird enrichment (creative ways to make their lives more fun and interesting through the use of toys, natural foliage, and companionship). Depending on what's going on at the center, you may be involved with the following tasks:

- Performing basic health-checks, administering routine medication, putting on wing wraps, administering fluids, tube-feeding, or bird banding
- Seeding and planting avian food crops and trees, planting permanent enrichment for aviaries, landscaping tour areas, building water-bird rehabilitation ponds and enclosures
- Collecting/rescinding birds, shopping, visiting the veterinary clinic
- Helping with education outreach in schools, developing educational activities for children
- Maintaining, renewing and constructing aviaries and enclosures, designing and building nest-boxes, feeding platforms, visual screening, walkways, and treetop viewing platforms (for humans)

Late afternoons and evenings will likely be free, so bring stuff to keep you busy in case we're hanging out at the house. We can go into town on some evenings and check out the local shops, restaurants, and culture, or visit some of the nearby Mayan ruins on a free afternoon.

Accommodation & Food

We will be staying in a lodge or cabana suite in shared rooms on the beautiful property of the rescue center. We will enjoy simple Belizean, vegetarian meals cooked for us on-site, but you're welcome to head into town and eat out (at your own expense).

We'll spend the last three nights at a jungle eco-lodge in double rooms, and will be served a 4-course meal every evening for dinner (with a vegetarian or vegan option). Breakfast & lunch will be chosen a la carte from a menu.

What is provided in this package?

- Round trip transportation to and from the airport and the project
- Lodging (for the duration of the project)
- Lodging for 3 nights in the jungle eco-lodge
- Dinner for the duration of the project (breakfast & lunch will be your responsibility and you will be taken shopping for supplies in town)
- A 4-course sit-down dinner with vegetarian or vegan options for all three nights we spend at the eco-lodge (breakfast & lunch will be your responsibility and will be served a la carte from a menu)

- Volunteer fees (these help the project keep going and often help locals learn about and practice conservation methods)
- Your transportation to & from the eco-lodge

Meals in town (as well as any alcohol you purchase or consume) will not be included, as well as breakfasts and lunches for the duration of your trip. Gratuity for lodge services & travel insurance is not included.

What do I need to Bring?

- Passport (with at least six months validity)
Insurance (covering the duration of your stay; please bring proof)
- Copies of the above (to be left at home)
- Spending money (you can withdraw or transfer cash at the airport)
- Backpack, water bottle & headlamp (with batteries)
- Sunglasses, sun hat, bandana, lip balm& sunscreen (high UV/SPF protection)

- Work clothes that can get dirty or torn
- Clothes for town & the lodge (the weather will be warm and humid during the day and can get a bit chilly at night, so pack accordingly)
- Close-toed walking shoes and sandals/flip-flops
- Swimwear
- Mosquito repellent

A visa is not normally necessary if you are a US or European citizen and your stay is less than 30 days. No compulsory inoculations are required, although it is recommended that you check with your doctor to make sure your standard vaccinations (polio, typhoid and hepatitis A/B) are up to date. March is dry season in Belize, so rain gear shouldn’t be necessary.

What else do I need to know?

Regular electric outlets will be available during your stay, as well as Wi-fi (although Wi-fi in Belize can sometimes be spotty). Lodging on the project will have AC, while the eco-lodge has overhead and standing fans (March often has cool nights so this shouldn’t be a problem). Please pack light. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a hassle baggage becomes during trips with lots of traveling! 

A couple of outfits for working, a couple for town and the lodge, and one for hiking will suffice for the most part. Hiking/working shoes are essential, as well as shoes for lounging. Days will be warm and humid, so pack light clothes such as tank tops and shorts. Nights could get a little cool, although you won’t need any cold-weather gear. The weather is pretty much perfect in Belize in March. A hat or kerchief will be very helpful for the daytime sun, and don’t forget your sunscreen! Some things are more expensive in Belize because many products are imported (like sunscreen).

Price: Starts at $1100 (plus Airfare)

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