|We are presently conducting research on three species of Pionus parrot in Ecuador's Mindo Valley:
(P chalcopterus, P sordidus, P seniloides).
Our next expedition is planned for January 28 through February 16, 2001 - however, if sufficient participants are enlisted, we will extend the study to February 23. During that expedition we are hoping to locate active breeding locations of all three species so that we can perform more detailed examinations of breeding behaviors on subsequent trips. We will also be watching how these three species affect agricultural activity in local plantations.
We need individuals to assist in four ways:
- We plan to perform point counts from three vantage points in the valley to continue recording the movements of flocks of parrots. Data from the first trip suggest that these parrots have a predictable schedule and we would like to reinforce that data. The job involves arriving at a vantage point before dawn and observing/recording flock size, time, and direction of activity. Information from these observations will also be used by the group attempting to locate active breeding areas. We need a minimum of three persons to perform this activity; however having 2 persons at each vantage point is most desirable. Participants should have their own binoculars and/or spotting scopes. Folks on this team should be able to work for a minimum of 5 days, although longer assignments > are encouraged since the study period will cover one month.
- We need 4 people to work at locating active breeding locations. Because of the terrain involved and the absence of accurate maps, these folks will need to be skilled in using GPS systems. This activity is down-and-dirty birding at its best; participants should be physically fit and comfortable with working in rugged terrain. The ability to speak Spanish will be very helpful since permission must be obtained before crossing private property. This team will require someone who is comfortable using both video and still photographic equipment. Work on this team could be especially valuable for ecology, biology, zoology, and/or ornithology students or professionals. Participants should have their own binoculars, and, if possible, personal GPS equipment. Folks working on this team should be able to work for 10 days.
- We need 2 - 4 people to observe parrot behavior in agricultural settings. These folks will be assigned to a specific area and will be responsible for recording parrot activity as it relates to crop destruction or preservation - whichever the case may be. We will assign two persons to a selected field. Participants will be expected to be in the assigned area from 6AM to 10AM and 2PM to 6PM. Folks doing this work should plan to spend 5-7 days in the field.
- We need the services of a botanist (or botany student) experienced with the flora of South American sub-tropical cloud forests. This person will assist with plant identification, as well as preparation of voucher specimens for later identification. Ideally, this person would be a resident of South America or a North American professional/student living or studying in Ecuador. This person will have time to work on private interests during the study.
While the PPRF will cover equipment costs as well as room and board for all participants, that's all we can promise. We will make every attempt to cover airfare costs to Quito, transportation costs to Mindo, and 1 overnight in Quito at each end of the trip, however, professionals' and students' travel costs will be covered before amateurs' travel costs. Non-professional participants willing to pay their own air expenses will be especially appreciated. If you are a non-professional with some experience and are desperate to participate but cannot afford to finance your travel, please contact the Foundation's Managing Director.
Folks working on teams 1 and 3 will begin work 1 week before team 2 begins and will be expected to remain from one to four weeks.
Team 2 and the botany person will begin work during the second week of the study. Members are expected to be available for 10-14 days, although someone interested in working all three weeks will certainly be welcome. Team 3 participants will span the entire 4 weeks, but nobody is expected to work longer than 1 week.
Individuals can also vary their responsibilities, for example, work one week on Team 1, two weeks on Team 2 and 1 week on Team 3.
Who Should Apply
It is the policy of the PPRF that all funded studies involve professionals as well as amateurs.
- If you are an aviculturist looking for a working eco-vacation, we guarantee the experience of a lifetime.
- If you are a birder , you probably already know of Mindo's reputation as a birding site. It is not unusual for folks to add anywhere from 150 -300 new birds to their life list during a stay of 1 to 2 weeks.
If you are a student considering a career in ornithology, ecology, or botany, Mindo's unique western slope climate and its several large preserved forest areas offer opportunities for study unavailable in North America.If you are working on one of the observation teams, you can expect to have 3-4 hours of free time each day to pursue your individual interests. We suggest that you contact the Managing Director for more information. We are especially interested in students who are considering pursuing a professional career in parrot research.
- If you are a research professional , this is an opportunity to engage in primary research on a virtually unknown family of parrots. Should you decide after your experience to continue researching Pionus parrots, the PPRF would be eager to consider a funding request.
How Do I ApplyReview the positions we need filled, decide where you can offer the most assistance, and visit the Necessary Information page. Then, if you are an amateur, send email to the Managing Director detailing your interest, describe your abilities and any experience you may have that relates to the position you are applying for. If you are a professional, include your CV. The Managing Director will then contact you for further discussions.
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