Job Opportunities

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers many opportunities for students, professionals, and volunteers.

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is the world's leading resource for conservation, research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The Lab is a vibrant unit within Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), where twelve world-class, mission-driven programs are directed by full-time faculty and other renowned professionals. Lab staff teach undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, collect and disseminate world-famous digital resources on biodiversity, and engage with partner organizations and citizens around the world to conduct scientific research and conservation actions. Our management and staff are committed to the highest standards of ethics and excellence in all areas of our work, and our Board leadership includes faculty from Cornell and other universities, successful entrepreneurs and managers from the business and non-profit sectors, and conservation-minded citizens from the United States and beyond.

To apply for the positions below, please refer to the Jobs at Cornell website unless otherwise specified. For more information on the positions listed below, please contact Sue Taggart; (607) 254-2470.

For more jobs in ornithology, see listings from the Ornithological Societies of North America.

Accounts Rep IV

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking an Accounts Rep IV. Duties include:

  • Under the supervision/direction of the Reporting & Budgeting Manager at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, provide direct financial and research administration service support for several programs within the Lab.
  • Assist with the establishment, monitoring and projection of annual budgets for all fund types for specific programs, including responding to requests from Program Directors/Managers related to their individual account balances and providing information and recommendations for appropriate usage.
  • Review and approve accounting transactions and reconcile accounts for audit control.
  • Investigate and identify problems/trends on departmental accounts.
  • Provide pre- and post- sponsored research award support in collaboration with SFS (Sponsored Financial Services), OSP (Offices of Sponsored Programs) and Lab grant and contract specialist including coordination of proposal submission, set-up and close-out of accounts, monitoring of effort distribution, cost share and subcontracts, and compliance with sponsor and university policies.
  • Responsible for credit card processing procedures and changes to established vendors.
  • Provide backup for other Lab financial staff as needs arise due to vacations, absences and/or excessive workload.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Formal training beyond HS diploma of 1 to 2 years, 2 years college coursework, or Associates Degree; more than 2 years financial experience.
  • Experience with computer applications Microsoft Excel, Word, Access, etc.
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills are critical.
  • Able to work quickly and effectively under pressure.
  • Must use judgement in accomplishing tasks that are urgent or of a sensitive nature while successfully balancing conflicting priorities, while consistently maintaining confidentiality.
  • Must be comfortable working in an environment where change in processes/procedures is the norm.
  • Excellent customer service skills and demonstrated ability to communicate both orally and in writing with a broad range of internal and external customers is essential.
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Demonstrated history of reliability.
  • Experience that demonstrates sound judgement and creativity.
  • Must be able to work independently while supporting the efforts and successfully collaborate with an overall team.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent experience.
  • At least 4 years concentrated experience in a financial office setting.
  • Strong working knowledge of Cornell contract budgeting and accounting policies and practices; grant and contracts management; financial policies and procedures.
  • Proficient in use of Cornell administrative and financial computer applications such as Kuali Financial Systems, ID&R, Outlook (email and calendaring).

Data Reporting Coordinator

The Membership Services Team manages all aspects of the Lab of Ornithology's memberships and donations including maintaining the database, processing data, reporting, and acknowledging of membership and donation income; for over 110,000 financial transactions per year. The Team works together to handle all other giving initiatives, including gift processing and acknowledging for the Big Day event, Year End Appeal, and many others. In addition, Membership processes all citizen science fees and gifts to many ongoing projects. Staff prepares income reports, labels, and files for program directors.

The Membership Services Team at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Data Reporting Coordinator. Duties include:

  • Work with the Raiser's Edge database to coordinate data imports and exports, process gifts, and generate lists for acknowledgements and premiums, renewal notices, publication mailings.
  • Serve as backup to Database Manager when unavailable, to assist with evaluation and monitoring performance and data quality.
  • Create and edit queries and reports.
  • Process complex gift transactions and resolve complicated gift questions and issues.
  • Produce lists for gift acknowledgements and premium fulfillment.
  • Provide support and guidance to teammates on resolution and completion of complex tasks.
  • Assist with the development of new operating processes and procedures, as well as the development of department administrative guidelines.
  • Assist in the development and maintenance of training procedures and documentation.
  • Conduct training for the membership processing staff.
  • Maintain database support tables with accurate information including but not limited to Fund table (with proper associated account numbers), Benefit table, and other support tables in the future designated by Database Manager.
  • Service the Lab of Ornithology's membership base through efficient and accurate processing financial transactions, and updating of constituent and membership info.
  • Create deposit journals, retrieve check and credit card information from various sources, and implement Lockbox and all policies and procedures.
  • Provide frontline customer service for the Lab's members.
  • Responsible for gift entry and processing.
  • Provide administrative support to the Membership team and assist all Lab members, donors, and prospects with any membership needs.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Formal training beyond a HS Diploma of 6 months to 1 year; more than 2 years' experience.
  • 1-2 years data entry experience.
  • In depth understanding of database work, including queries, and reporting.
  • Experience or proven ability to learn new database systems.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to audit and troubleshoot the work of others.
  • Must be detail oriented, flexible and be able to work well with co-workers and colleagues throughout the university and in the community.
  • Understanding of data import, export, batching and validation processes is essential.
  • Proven accuracy with high volume processing of credit card, check, and cash transactions.
  • Demonstrable experience in data quality; accountable for accuracy of the data and efficiency of its processes.
  • Strong organizational skills with the ability to prioritize multiple objectives to assist meeting unit goals.
  • Must be able to meet established deadlines.
  • Capable of working with supervisor to prioritize projects.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Must be able to work, at an advanced level, with desktop applications, databases, networked informational systems and the Internet.
  • Thorough understanding of Word and Excel applications.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Track record of successfully providing exceptional customer service.
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and foster good relationships with members of the Lab.
  • Must have strong interpersonal skills and effective communications skills (written and verbal) and the ability to communicate with tact and diplomacy with a wide range of internal and external constituencies.
  • Must be able to learn and understand new processes and procedures quickly.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Associate's degree or B.A. in business administration or similar field.
  • Knowledge of Raiser's Edge a plus.
  • Good command of, or ability to learn quickly, multiple database systems including Engaging Networks, Litle, Volusion, Hubspot and MailChimp and methods of moving data between databases.
  • Fluency with Microsoft Office software including Excel, Access and Word.
  • Prior experience in providing training to co-workers and staff.

Major Gifts Officer

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Major Gifts Officer. Duties include:

  • The Major Gifts Officer (MGO) within the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is a front-line fund raising professional responsible for development and maintenance of relationships with approximately 150 (households) having giving potential of $100,000 or more.
  • Research, develop, and implement appropriate solicitation strategies for prospects (current or prospective Lab Members) while proactively advancing the mission of the Lab, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell.
  • Collaborate with Lab Program Directors and Lab staff, AA&D, and regional staff and colleagues in areas across the division especially: Gift Planning, Donor Relations, and Principal Gifts.
  • Reporting to the Senior Director of Development and Philanthropy, develop personal relationships with new prospects and collaborate with individuals who can help foster prospects' relationships with the Lab and Cornell.
  • These natural partners, whom we call "prime" and "secondary," may be Lab directors or staff, Lab administrative board members, friends and peers of the prospect, or vice presidents, vice provosts, deans, directors, faculty members, trustees, presidential councillors and major gift committee members of Cornell University.
  • Maintain an in-depth knowledge of the Lab's annual and strategic priorities within the context of the university's priorities, and inspire the respect and confidence of the executive, academic, administrative, trustee, and volunteer leadership of Cornell.
This position is located in Ithaca, New York and will require extensive travel. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent, with at least 3-5 years of experience in major gift fundraising, comprehensive campaign fundraising, and estate planning.
  • Willingness and ability to travel 100+ days a year.
  • Some evening and weekend work is required.
  • Ability to identify and evaluate donor prospects and to establish and maintain personal relationships with these prospects.
  • Excellent and proactive written, interpersonal, and telephone communication skills are required.
  • Must be a collaborative problem solver and bring an entrepreneurial approach to designing creative donor engagement strategies.
  • Must be friendly and adaptive.
  • Position requires comfortable personal interaction with many unique, varied, and accomplished donors.
  • Aptitude for computer software applications, relational databases, and the internet, including their uses as research and management tools.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with individuals from across the university, as well as key alumni, volunteers, and executive staff.
  • Abilities to learn and understand the Lab's and the University's priorities and to articulate these clearly to donor prospects.
  • Must be able to exercise sound judgment and leadership, and to operate in a collaborative, professional, and ethical manner.
  • Ability to work in a time-sensitive, goal oriented, and deadline driven environment.
  • Must be able to work with highly sensitive and confidential information.
  • Must have valid driver's license and the ability to travel.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Active commitments to science, conservation, nature, and higher education.
  • Fundraising experience in a university setting and/or with conservation organizations is preferred.
  • Volunteer management experience would be beneficial.

Web Application Developer - Android Apps

The Information Science Program designs, develops, and maintains applications and services for citizen-science and education projects. These projects engage the public to collect, archive, analyze and disseminate information about birds and their environments. Maintains the supporting web, application, database servers, and associated storage devices, which support a number of the Lab's web applications.

The Information Science Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Web Application Developer. Duties include:

  • Develop and maintain Android applications and related services for the eBird and Merlin projects. eBird, a real-time, online bird checklist program, is the world's largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resource, collecting millions of bird observations from the general public. Merlin is a bird identification system using eBird data, along with photos and recordings, to help novices identify birds. Upcoming projects include an 'in the field' data entry app for submitting bird observations to eBird, closely integrating native phone capabilities, including calendar, GPS, camera, and voice memos, and extending the Merlin Android app to add image-recognition functionality for identifying birds from a 'just taken' photo.
  • Work closely with a dynamic team of biologists, UI designers, application developers, database administrators, and computer scientists within a collaborative development environment.
  • Help guide overall Android development strategy and recommend best solutions for project requirements.
  • Utilize Android software development tools, team code repositories, and open source libraries and is expected to stay current with Android practices and processes (Java for Android, Android SDK, ADT, test distributions, Google Play submission, and analytics).
Annual term appointment with possible renewal based on performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree with 3-5 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • A thorough understanding of object-oriented programming and web applications.
  • Proven experience in java programming and Android application development.
  • Experience using Android device features such as location, camera, and internet access.
  • Experience integrating with APIs and web services.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and verbal communication.
  • Proven experience in documenting and testing code.
  • Ability to learn technical material quickly.
  • Must be able to work independently and function effectively as part of a larger team.
  • Ability to establish realistic goals and deliver work on schedule.
  • Proven experience in providing support to multiple areas.
  • Must be able to use sound judgment in decision making and in accomplishing tasks that are urgent or of a sensitive or confidential nature, balance conflicting priorities, and make decisions from a range of choices.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 5 years of experience in computer or information science preferred.
  • 3-5 years of experience working on substantial computer software and collaborating with a team of programmers on software projects is desired.
  • Experience designing and implementing responsive Android UI interfaces that accommodate multiple screen sizes, and degrade gracefully.
  • Experience with CBTs such as Titanium and PhoneGap.
  • Experience implementing rich internet applications.
  • Experience with relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing.
  • Prior use and understanding of the eBird system.
  • An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation helpful.

Web Developer

eBird has evolved from a stand-alone citizen-science project focused on collecting data, into a cooperative partnership involving several distinct user groups spanning multiple scientific domains and dozens of partner organizations, each with its own unique interests in the eBird Enterprise. eBird collects information about the distribution and abundance of birds, taking advantage of the enormous popularity of watching birds to create a global network of volunteers who submit bird observations via the Internet to a central data repository. Through a combination of broad-based community engagement and global partnerships, the volume of data coming into eBird has increased exponentially (30–40% annually) for the last decade. eBird is regarded as one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity databases in the world. Presently, the eBird database contains nearly 250 million observations. More than 1 million people access eBird via the web and mobile apps, and more than 255 thousand participants have collectively spend over 18 million hours in the field recording birds. Data have been contributed from every country in the world. eBird data are relied upon for a variety of research initiatives in Information Science, other Lab projects and programs (e.g., Merlin, Citizen Science, Education, Conservation, and Bird Population Studies), external academic institutions (e.g., Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, U of New Mexico, U of Utah, and Oregon State), governmental departments and agencies in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oak Ridge National Labs, US Department of Defense, CONABIO [Comision Nacional para el Conocimento y Uso de la Biodiversidad], and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., PRBO Conservation Science, Bird Studies Canada, Audubon) and private companies.

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Web Developer to collaborate with application developers and interface designers to:

  • Develop, test, and maintain web sites, web-based applications, and visualizations focused on the eBird enterprise and other Lab projects.
  • Develop, test, and maintain software, components, and services for related content management systems.
  • Use technologies and development tools including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Eclipse-based IDEs, team code repositories, open source libraries, Java and JSP to extend and enhance the functionality of eBird-based projects.
  • Provide consultation and training to staff and collaborators on the use of software and infrastructure.
  • Create documentation and examples to help other developers use the infrastructure.
  • Conduct functional tests, system tests, performance profiling, and security audits.
  • Contribute to team brainstorming and problem-solving initiatives.
Annual term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree with 1-2 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • A thorough understanding of object-oriented programming and web application development is essential.
  • Experience developing Java based web applications is required.
  • Must have experience working with designers to create and maintain scalable, responsive HTML/CSS/JavaScript systems across large web sites and applications.
  • Must be proficient with web performance techniques for efficiently delivering front-end code, data, and assets.
  • Experience with WordPress customization and administration is required.
  • Candidate must show strong problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills, work effectively on a team, learn technical material quickly, establish realistic goals, and deliver quality work on schedule with minimal supervision.
  • The ability to prioritize activities and multitask is essential.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 2-5 years' experience in web development in a team setting is preferred.
  • Experience and demonstrated expertise in: content management or web publishing systems; Java web application development using Springsource Tool Suite or Eclipse IDE; JSTL front-end templating; the PHP/Apache/MySQL web development stack; designing and implementing APIs and web services; interactive client-side data visualization (D3); CSS pre-processors (SASS/LESS); workflow (Grunt/Gulp), version control (Git), and deployment (Jenkins); JavaScript frameworks (Angular, Ember, Backbone); relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing using Oracle.
  • Prior use and understanding of the eBird system and interest in birding and ecology is highly desired.


To apply for an internship, send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Most internships are unpaid but hours are flexible and course credit is possible. Minimum commitment is generally six hours per week. Cornell undergraduates are eligible to be considered for a limited number of paid internships each year. The Nancy Horton Bartels ‘48 Scholars gift supports Cornell undergraduate interns at the Lab during the summer. The Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund supports the engagement of Cornell undergraduates at the Lab, with preference given to students involved in interdisciplinary projects with other colleges, departments, and units at Cornell.

Bartels Science Illustration Internships

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will offer at least one paid Bartels Science Illustration Internship each year, lasting from three to six months, 39 hours per week. Recipients will work on a project illustrating birds, wildlife, and/or plants for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's print publications, outreach materials, and web sites. We are seeking students (artists just starting their career) at least 18 years old who have previous experience and exceptional talent in illustration, painting, or drawing who are interested in advancing their skills in ornithological art. Interns will work on projects that help the Lab achieve its mission, and these projects often result in publication of the intern's work. For more information, please download this file. You may also contact Diane Tessaglia-Hymes, design director, by email at, or call 607-254-2417 (work) or 607-342-4811 (cell).


The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to a college senior or graduate student to study areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For more information about this scholarship and how to apply, see the proposal guidelines. If you wish to apply, you will also need to submit a personal information form.

The Walter E. Benning Fund provides scholarship assistance to a Cornell University graduate student studying ornithology and its relevance to conservation. The annual award is about $500. Apply by January 15 of every year by submitting a short (two page maximum) proposal describing your research, relevance to conservation, schedule of completion, and funding. Mail to Irby Lovette, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Interested in leading bird walks in Sapsucker Woods, helping in the visitors’ center at the Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, or becoming a docent? For more information, please contact us at 254-2473 or (800) 843-2473.

Student Jobs

Working just a few hours a week provides you with a multitude of benefits. You will meet new people and adapt more quickly to your new environment. You will develop new skills and improve existing skills while building a network of contacts and good references that will ultimately increase your marketability for summer and post-Cornell jobs. Working part-time also helps improve your time-management skills. Not to mention you'll earn money to help cover some of your Cornell expenses!

To apply for the positions below, please send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Full-time registered Cornell students are eligible to be considered for these positions.

IT Team Student Assistant

The IT Team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports research, administrative, and outreach functions at the Lab by providing a wide set of core IT services including administration and management of virtual server infrastructure, SAN/NAS storage, linux and Windows servers, printers, and desktops. The student assistant will work both independently and as part of the team to complete a variety of tasks and projects including: managing device and software inventories, building desktops with Casper and Configuration Manager, and developing scripts for monitoring and sysadmin.

This position will provide opportunities to work with a top-notch IT Team managing 250+ workstations, 50+ servers, and 500+TB of storage. This is a paid position 8-16 hours per week for Fall 2015 with possibility for Spring 2016 school year. We offer a flexible work schedule but time worked generally would need to be sometime Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab (TCAT route 41). Free parking is available.

Required Qualifications

  • · The candidate must be a current Cornell undergraduate student, Federal Work Study preferred.
  • · Easily pick up new technical skills
  • · Attention to detail
  • · Dependable
Preferred Qualifications
  • · Familiarity with Windows and Mac operating system installations, updates, and upgrades
  • · Familiarity with Windows and linux scripting

Interested applicants should send a letter describing their interest and qualifications for the position along with a resume and contact information for at least two references to David Childs, IT Team Lead, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850,

Student Research Assistant, SFO

Spring Field Ornithology (SFO) is an 8-week intensive course taught by Dr. Stephen Kress, consisting of evening lectures and weekend field trips. The course attracts over 100 students from around the greater-Ithaca area each year.

We are seeking a creative and energetic undergraduate student with a strong interest in ornithology to work with staff and the instructor to update the media (photos and sounds) for the lecture portion of SFO. Primary job duties include:

  • Updating sounds for approx. 250 lecture slides using sounds from the Macaulay Library
  • Updating images for approx. 400 lecture slides using provided sources
Basic Requirements:
  • Interest in ornithology, particularly birds and birding in North America
  • Ability to identify by sight and sound most common birds in eastern North America
  • Web research
  • Experience with Excel
This is a paid position 5-6 hours per week for the fall of 2015, with the possibility of additional work in the spring. We offer a flexible work schedule but generally Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab (TCAT route 41). Free parking is available. To apply for the position, please send a cover letter and resume to:
Marc Devokaitis
SFO Course Coordinator

Work Schedule: Flexible
Weekly Hours: 5-6
FWS Required: No
Positions Available: 1
Paid: Yes
Wage: $10.00
Employment Dates: 09/01/2015 - 12/15/2015

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