KuzeyDoga Society provides volunteer opportunities within its projects. KuzeyDoga Society has two bird ringing (banding) stations. One is in Yukari Ciyrikli village of Tuzluca district, by the Aras River in Igdir province, and the other is by Lake Kuyucuk in the Arpacay district of Kars province. KuzeyDoga Society runs these stations both in the fall and in the spring. There are ringing and birdwatching activities at the Aras station between the dates March 15-May 30 and August 15-October 30, five months a year. At Lake Kuyucuk, we conduct ringing (especially shorebirds) and count waterfowl between the dates April 15 - May 30 and September 1 - October 30.
You can come and join our ringing program, especially if you are a licensed ringer. If not, there are other things to do in the stations and you can contribute and learn a lot about birds. Each station is run with an average of 4-5 people and they are responsible for checking nets, collecting birds, entering data, conducting orientation experiments, preparing breakfast and other station related jobs. These are excellent opportunities to birdwatch, learn bird research techniques, help conserve birds and have a great outdoor experience with fellow nature enthusiasts in a spectacular, beautiful and biodiverse part of Turkey.
Aras Bird Research and Education Center
Location: Yukari Ciyrikli village, Tuzluca district, Igdir province, Turkey
Coordinates: 40° 7'9.57"N, 43°34'51.52"E
Ringing starts at 6:00 in the morning and it ends in 19:00 in spring, 20:00 in the fall. Nets are checked once an hour. Busiest and birdiest hours are the morning and evening hours. Noon time provides good opportunity to sleep, read, fish & swim (in Aras river), birdwatch, hike around and play cards with other volunteers. Breakfast is prepared by volunteers in the ringing caravan whereas lunch and dinner are eaten in one of the village houses and deliciously cooked by our village host family. Mosquitoes are not a problem but bring insect repellent just in case. Bring your own rain gear and headlamp. Bring rubber boots if you have any. Otherwise we can provide them. Bring your birding telescope if you want. There are two major hospitals within an hour's drive, but we recommend you bring with you any special medical needs, if you are allergic to bee stings, for example. We do not provide health insurance. We have a small two bedroom house in the village where there is a hot shower 24 hours a day. You do not need to bring mats or sleeping bags. Beds, pillows and sheets are provided by us.
Kuyucuk Bird Research and Education Center
Location: Kuyucuk village, Arpacay district, Kars province, Turkey
Coordinates: 40°44'46.35"N, 43°27'12.93"E
Ringing goes on all day. Because of shorebird ringing, nets are open to catch birds in the night also. Indeed, many birds are caught at night. Nets are checked every one and half hour. At night, nets are checked with a flash light and two volunteers rotate to check nets. Day time allows you to sleep, read, birdwatch, hike, horse-ride around the lake. All meals are cooked by volunteers in the small hut by the lake. Accommodation is in the hut by the lake and in the guest house in the village. The hut provides 4 beds whereas guest house provides capacity of 6 beds. You can also camp in tents by the hut if you want. It is possible to take shower in the guest house 24 hours a day whereas you can use solar showers by the lake. Bringing your own sleeping bag is highly recommended. Also bring your own rain gear, headlamp and waders if you have. Water for usage is provided in a big tank by the lake. The station can be run with at least 5 people.
Unfortunately our project does not cover transportation expenses of bus, train or plane to Kars or Igdir whereas local transportation within Kars and Igdir is covered by KuzeyDoga Society. Our project does not provide any stipends.
KuzeyDoga Society has welcomed 198 volunteers out of 20 countries since 2007. Please check KuzeyDoga Volunteers section to see our volunteer list.