Birds of the Amazon

"Research, birding and photography"

(Postponed until further notice due to Covid-19, but you can save a spot for the next available program by clicking "register")

Join us for 10 days of bird data collection, explorations in primary and secondary habitats, and amazing field trips to bird and wildlife viewing sites, while learning how to use your camera and document your bird observations. 

If you are a bird and nature photography enthusiast and are interested in contributing to our science, education and conservation work while learning, this program is for you! 

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In this program we will conduct bird surveying and bird-banding as we continue to document the avifauna of this private conservation area (Hacienda Herrera-CECCOT).  The site covers a mosaic of secondary and primary forest, palm swamp and some agricultural land along the Madre de Dios river just 2km down from the town of Puerto Maldonado in Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru.


Collaborative efforts among Washington State-based  and Peruvian ornithologists, photographers and and local conservationists at CECCOT, aim to provide opportunities for locals and international visitors to learn hands-on about research and conservation of Amazonian biodiversity with a minimum impact on the area ecosystems; while supporting the CECCOT conservation efforts and sponsoring local students to participate in training programs. 

The program will include training in bird capture techniques using mistnets and possibly bal-chatri traps, data collection and discussion of field methods (instruction will be offered in English).  Birds will be individually marked for long-term monitoring and research.  We plan to work in different habitat types around the reserve and there will be plenty of time for birding and independent exploration of the reserve’s rainforest.  An overnight field trip to Lago Sandoval in the famous Tambopata National Reserve (more birds, giant river otters and fantastic landscape and sunsets!) and two other day-long field trips to observe birds and other wildlife are included in the program.  

Participants are able to experience the wonders of the Amazon while having a minimal
impact on local ecosystems and having a positive impact on local conservation. 


Bring your cameras, as there will be opportunities for hands-on learning on the use of DSLR cameras  in rainforest conditions, and during bird and wildlife observations. Bird discussions and photo editing workshops will be also offered in the evenings. Optional night walks and astrophotography are also offered as part of the in-situ dynamic and engaging learning environment. 




To apply to the course, the candidates must send their CV and short cover letter to (write "Birds of the Amazon application" in the email subject).  Applications will be reviewed within a week. Upon acceptance, participants should make the payment for the program within another week to secure their space.

Requirements: All levels of bird and photography experience are welcome!!

However, it is necessary to have the following gear: DSLR camera, a telephoto lens, 50mm lens or below, a tripod. Ability to hike up to 3km with a ~30lt backpack in uneven terrain, positive attitude and willingness to be part of a learning community. Personal travel insurance and immunizations. 


(Postponed until further notice due to Covid-19, but you can save a spot for the next available program by clicking "register")

Early bird registration  US $ 1200, 

Regular Registration US$ 1300,

The registration fees cover all expenses (instruction, lodging, field trips, and all meals) during the the course in Hacienda Herrera-CECCOT (HHC) as well as boat transportation from Puerto Maldonado to HHC and back. Participants are responsible for their trip to Puerto Maldonado, Peru, travel insurance and immunizations.

A portion of the revenues goes to provide scholarships for Peruvian students and to support our science, education and training projects. 


Two scholarships would be available for Peruvian students that demonstrate aptitude and economic need. To be considered for a scholarship, send a cover letter explaining why you should be considered for it and a transcript of courses (non-official is fine) along with CV to no later than TBD.  A letter of recommendation is needed to be considered for a scholarship and should be sent directly by the recommender to the same email address provided and by same deadline.   


Ursula Valdez (Tropical Avian Ecologist)

Kusi Seminario (Wildlife Veterinarian and Photographer)


Garret Sheets (Naturalist and Photographer)

Photos below by: L. Beck, K. Seminario, D. Olsen, G. Sheets, R. Furbush, U. Valdez