Job Opportunities

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

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab

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.

Software Engineer

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Software Engineer. Specific duties include:

  • Collaborate with the Visipedia Project Coordinator, who will reach out to communities with images and expertise in butterflies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and other taxonomic groups to curate media and primary occurrence data.
  • Work with a team of developers in the Macaulay Library and Information Science and Technology programs at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to build applications that ingest media and associated metadata into the Macaulay Library (, an archive of biodiversity media.
  • Currently, online upload capabilities are restricted to birds and uploaded via eBird (
  • A focus of the Visipedia project is to develop a suite of applications and partnerships that will enable the community to upload images and associated metadata for groups such as moths, dragonflies, butterflies, and mammals.
  • The resulting collections of curated data will be packaged and made available for scientific research, including use as comprehensive, accurate training datasets for the computer vision and machine learning communities.
  • Work with Cornell Lab staff and partner organizations to define technical requirements for new applications and features within the current infrastructure.
  • Assist in the planning, implementation, and tracking of technical aspects of the projects.
  • Coordinate with Macaulay Library, eBird, and Visipedia team members to ensure project milestones and deliverables are met.
Application development projects are likely to include:
  • Media upload tools for the community to contribute media and associated metadata for non-avian taxonomic groups.
  • Tools that enable both the community and experts to review identifications.
  • Tools for engaging the community in managing the media they contribute and adding metadata (such as bounding boxes, part annotations, or quality ratings) to media contributed by others.
  • Tools for packaging and delivering data for scientific research.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in computer science or related field, and a minimum of 1year of programming experience or equivalent combination.
  • One year experience with software design and development, preferably with an object-oriented language.
  • One year building web applications with Java, Django, Spring, or similar.
  • One year experience writing SQL.
  • Experience integrating multiple system components into a coherent software system.
  • Experience with Linux or Windows server system administration.
  • Experience collaborating on and maintaining source code using version control.
  • Able to adapt to changing priorities, situations, and demands.
  • Ability to work with others to solve problems and achieve common goals.
  • Ability to express highly technical terms in everyday language.
  • Experience collaborating with a team of software developers and stakeholders.
  • Adhere to confidentiality practices when necessary.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Master's degree and 5 years of experience in computer or information science preferred.
  • Experience with Oracle SQL, and ORM frameworks (Hibernate).
  • Experience implementing SPAs using AngularJS or similar, HTML5 and CSS3.
  • Prior experience with Spring Framework, REST, and JavaScript MVC frameworks.
  • Experience managing Linux-based Java application servers.
  • Previous experience with content management or web publishing systems.
  • Prior experience working on computer software and collaborating with a team of programmers on software projects.
  • Proven experience writing application requirements, architecting applications, and documenting code.
  • Knowledge of or interest in natural history and conservation.
  • Experience managing a large amount of images or media archives.
Annual term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and availability of funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references. Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.

Web Designer

Key Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with stakeholders to develop scope of work, timeline, site architecture, user interface, and design requirements.
  • Work with lead web designer to ensure consistent graphic identity across websites, fulfill stakeholder needs, create excellent visual design, conduct usability testing, and maintain good coding standards.
  • Strategically use technology, data, and multimedia to better integrate informational content across the Cornell Lab.
  • Design layouts and UI components such as iconography, graphical elements, and navigation tools.
  • Work with content writers to design digital graphics and create data visualizations that demonstrate scientific concepts and information.
  • Create and maintain email templates that display well on a wide range of devices.
  • Conduct training and provide assistance for non-technical staff on how to use content management systems, good web content principles, and basic web design skills.
Required Experience/Skills:
  • Bachelor's degree with at least 3 years of experience in web design.
  • Thorough knowledge of HTML, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • Experience creating content management systems, preferably WordPress.
  • Thorough understanding of web design and development strategies.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with ability to convey technical information in way that nontechnical staff can understand.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving and critical thinking.
Preferred Skills:
  • Prior experience working in nonprofit or educational settings.
  • Experience in the decision making process of web design and web applications.
  • Experience dealing with search engine optimization issues and designing email templates for a wide range of devices.
  • Prior knowledge with Git, SASS, LESS, AMP, WordPress, php, and MySQL.
  • Well-developed illustration and artistic skills and understanding of various types of optimization.
  • Knowledge of birds, nature, and bird watching.
  • Experience with researching and effectively serving target audiences.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references. Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.

Year Round

Summer Outreach Assistant

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. We are dedicated to engaging people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. The education program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is seeking a creative and dependable outreach assistant to help with our daily programs, operations, and communications across these exciting educational offerings.

The Lab's Visitor Center, located in Sapsucker Woods, offers opportunities for visitors to connect with the Lab and learn about its mission to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity. The Lab's BirdSleuth K-12 program aims to connect young people to their local environment via outdoor activities including citizen-science projects. We develop STEM curricula and professional development experiences for educators, both in person and online. A growing suite of online resources via Bird Academy allows the public to broaden their understanding of birds&emdash;from birding basics to college-level ornithology&emdash;through free and premium content.

The student assistant will work with these programs, both independently and as part of a team, to support our outreach efforts. With an on-going focus on providing the highest-quality visitor experience possible, the assistant will provide engaging programming for visitors and workshop participants via building tours, bird and nature walks, and during events and workshops. The assistant will also promote our resources and events via social media outlets, write blogs and science feature articles for a lay audience, develop online educational content, fulfill sales and workshop invoices, and provide general program support. Depending on your skills and interests, you may be asked to assist with special projects, such as writing tours, photography and video, and developing and designing flyers and displays.

This position provides experience in working with multi-generational audiences and offers an exciting opportunity for those interested in a wide range of majors and subject areas including biology, communications, education, ornithology, natural resources, and conservation. This position is a paid, full-time opportunity. You will be expected to work 30-39 hours per week, mostly Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There is an on-demand bus stop is in front of the building and free parking is also available. Background check required.

Required Qualifications:

  • Strong interest in helping to expand the reach of educational programs
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Self-motivated, strong work ethic, flexible
  • Dependable
  • Ability to pack and lift boxes for shipping
  • Experience with social media outreach
  • Knowledge and interest in science, birds, and the environment
  • Collaborative spirit
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Scientific literacy
  • Strong interest in birds and good bird identification skills
  • Experience with blogging or feature writing, especially experience interpreting science content for a lay audience
  • Familiarity with PowerPoint, InDesign, and Photoshop
  • Experience working in educational settings and/or youth outreach programs
  • Photography/Videography skills or interest
Applications will be accepted through Friday, April 1. This paid position is available for Summer 2017, renewable as a part-time position into the Fall semester and beyond. To apply, please send a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, along with your resume and the contact information for at least two references to Lisa Kopp, Visitor Experience Manager at

Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund

Recipients of Rupert/Foote funding engage in paid semester or summer opportunities in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. This fund is specifically designed to promote cross-disciplinary study at the University, particularly by Cornell students whose interests and majors fall outside the traditional realms of ornithological research. Examples might include a mechanical engineering major who helps design a bird recording device, an English major who writes articles for our website, a computer science major who creates an algorithm for our bird ID app, or an art major who draws images for our outreach publications. Nominations for this program are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this program should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor or contact Myrah Bridwell at Nominations are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

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 websites. 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 or 607-342-4811.

Francis M. Peacock Scholarship

The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to students studying areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. Typically, the Scholarship awards $4,500 annually to one scholar. In special instances, because of two unusually qualified candidates or two candidates working on one project, the award may be divided between two candidates. College seniors or graduate students enrolled in a US-based institution are eligible to apply. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Applications must be submitted by January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. For more information, see the proposal guidelines.

Other funding opportunities for Cornell undergraduates

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology manages a number of additional funds that support undergraduate student research, semester and summer jobs, expeditions, and activities that align with the Cornell Lab’s broad mission. The Lab currently does not have funds to support University financial aid or similar tuition scholarships to individuals, and most of these opportunities are limited to Cornell undergraduates who are in good academic standing. To initiate a conversation about these funding opportunities, students or their advisor/mentor should obtain our simple funding request form by emailing Myrah Bridwell at


Philip H. Bartels ’71 Scholars

Two Bartels Scholars are appointed annually to engage in a paid, eight-week summer opportunity. This opportunity is open to Cornell undergraduates who would conduct the proposed project during the summer in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. Although Bartels Scholars most commonly focus on research, any Lab-related activity may be appropriate. Nominations for Bartels scholars are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this opportunity should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor or contact Myrah Bridwell at Nominations for the forthcoming summer should be submitted by March 31.


We are looking for volunteers of all ability levels to assist with the programs and operations of the Visitor Center. If you love birds and want to be around others who share your interests, you are invited to join our new Visitor Center volunteer corps!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, housed at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, offers opportunities for visitors to connect with the Lab and learn about its mission to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity. Birders, school classes, families, and nature lovers come to the Lab to walk the trails, watch birds, view the art, use the library, and learn from exhibits, tours, guided walks, seminars, and other types of programs.

Volunteer Opportunities
• Helping with youth education programs
• Leading guided tours
• Assisting with outreach efforts
• Helping out in the Adelson Library

• Attend initial information session
• Complete the training for a specific volunteer appointment
• Commit to at least five hours per month (specific time commitments vary by appointment)
• Must be 18 years of age or older

• Complimentary Cornell Lab of Ornithology membership
• 10% discount in Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods store
• Program discounts
• Training and continuing education opportunities

If you are interested in volunteering at the Lab of Ornithology please contact Anne Rosenberg at or call 607-254-2109.

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