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Working Together To Release Wildlife: Volunteer Bill of The Macaw Society

Macaws in their natural habitat! Photo taken by Macaw Society volunteer Coralie.

A volunteer with another organization talks about his time at Bosque Escondido

I had the honor of chatting with Bill, who participated in The Macaw Society volunteer program and interacted with Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center Interns during his stay. Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center Interns work beside members of the The Macaw Society in Bosque Escondido of the Nicoya Peninsula!

They are a partner in our mission to release these animals back to nature.

Like the The Macaw Society volunteers, Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center interns help reintroduce rescued birds back into their natural environment, and we also reintroduce primates like the endangered spider monkey. Learn more about an opportunity to help animals on the Road To Freedom!

Or like Bill, you can also volunteer to work directly with The Macaw Society.

An opportunity at Bosque Escondido means you’ll not only help animals to enjoy their natural lives, but you’ll meet like-minded individuals who also have a passion for conservation! 

Photo taken by Bill

Bill stayed in Bosque Escondido for three months and talked with me about his stay.

Me: What were you doing there?

Bill: The main project was to observe the behavior of mainly the Amazon parrots…observing them when they were in an enclosure and what their behaviors were like. Are they good at flying? Are they aggressive toward other birds or people? Do they come to people?

Me: Is there any way to help them fly? Like, is there any way to encourage them or is it just has to happen? 

Bill: They have perches, which work as part of enrichment. It’s tied to a rope so that will it will move or spin around. And then they have to adapt to landing. 

Some of the enclosures had little trees growing in them and they had a lot of ropes and things that they can walk up and down and learn how to climb and not fall off.

Me: Were there any other enrichment items, like for food?

Bill: Yeah, they were put in coconuts, mostly the shells. The parrots like chewing on things.

Me: What are some signs that they are thriving out in the wild?

Bill:  Well, I would say if they show up at the feeders…They don’t want them coming near people. That’s a behavior that’s dangerous for them. Another thing that would be bad would be if they flew into the town.  And aggressive behavior, because you can have a bird that would fly at someone.

Me: I remember you mentioning cameras before. What would you do with the cameras?

Bill: Oh, camera traps. There’s one long term volunteer who’s been here…he is very good with cameras. And on my free days, he showed me how to set up some camera traps, and I set up one along the riverbank where I’d seen these giant holes.

I was wondering what’s in there and what’s in that hole. I sighted it right in front of the hole and left it there for a week. And sure enough, every night or almost every night, this armadillo would come out and climb up the bank and go back down again.

Me: What was your favorite activity?

Bill: Everything that I did. I love just going out into the into the forest and seeing all of the different wildlife and nature. I mean, every single day we’d find something new. Some turtle or frogs or big giant toads or snakes. All kinds of interesting insects. Just waves of these tropical butterflies. Like one week there would be one color of butterfly all over the camp, and a couple of weeks later they would switch to a new color.

Me: Is there anything else that I haven’t asked about that you’d want people to know?

Bill: One thing I didn’t really pursue that I tried for a while, but I didn’t get very good at it is climbing. You have climbing gear and you can learn to climb up one of these trees that’s like 30 meters. And you can see all around.

This is another thing that I didn’t do, but they go up to check the nest boxes that they put up there for macaws. You’re basically going to climb up there and look inside and see if there’s anything there. 

I didn’t do it because I need to go back and work out. It’s optional. Climbing is optional. But I would say if that’s your interest, it’s something that’s probably really worthwhile.

Loïc and Ayla climbing – Photo taken by Bill

Are you interested in having helping Costa Rican wildlife?

If you’re interested in visiting Bosque Escondido and meeting people like Bill who participated in The Macaw Society volunteer program and share a passion for conservation, take a look at our Road to Freedom Internship! and like Bill, you’ll help return birds to the wild and also work with Spider Monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, and more.

Would you like to get involved yourself?

Become an Intern and have a unique wildlife experience.

Veterinary Internship

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. You will assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Wildlife Internship​

Work hands-on in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species Breeding Center and the Rescue Center, feeding animals, conducting behavioral research, and creating enriching experiences for our non-releasable animals or even clicker train our Jaguar „Guapo“.

Road to freedom Internship

This internship gives you the unique opportunity to not only see, but to play an active part in what we call: The Road to Freedom. Aid the animals in their release, monitor and research them and their second chance at life in the wild, the final step on their Road to Freedom.

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