Job Opportunities

Mountain Bluebird by Eric Gofreed/Macaulay Library Mountain Bluebird by Eric Gofreed/Macaulay Library.

Join Our Dynamic, Inclusive Workplace

Located in Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, New York, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a renowned nonprofit institution dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of birds, wildlife, and our shared planet through research, education, citizen science, and conservation.

We’re a great place to work

The Beautiful Finger Lakes Region
Come visit us at our headquarters at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, located on the shore of Sapsucker Woods Pond in Ithaca, New York, four miles from the Cornell campus.

Ithacans enjoy the quality of life here in the Finger Lakes region with its abundant natural beauty, diverse community, and recreation throughout the seasons, whether hiking, biking, and canoeing in summer, skiing nearby slopes in winter, or enjoying the lively music scene year-round. Ithaca was named in the Top 100 Best Places to Live by in 2018, and was ranked the #2 Best Small College Town by USA Today in 2016.

Cornell University Benefits
Cornell is nationally recognized as an award-winning workplace for health, well-being, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. Cornell provides great benefits including health care options, professional development, employee degree program, wellness programs, generous retirement contributions, paid leave positions (3 weeks of vacation, and 12 holidays including end of year winter break), and partial scholarships for children of eligible employees to attend Cornell or other accredited institutions.

As a nonprofit science and conservation organization and a vibrant unit of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we offer the resources of a world-class university and the impact of an innovative nonprofit organization supported by more than 100,000 members and donors.

The Lab has 200 staff and 12 interdisciplinary programs. Scientists and artists, engineers and conservationists, educators and app developers, multimedia producers and students, support staff and volunteers, all work together here, along with local and online communities and partners around the world.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we join with people from all backgrounds and walks of life to share a love for nature and a commitment to protecting our planet.

Staff Openings

Birds of the World Program Aide

Birds of the World (BOW) is the Cornell Lab’s signature scientific publication and the largest, most comprehensive avian database in the world. Based in the Biodiversity Studies and Higher Education program, the Birds of the World program aide will play a key role in providing and maintaining access to BOW to these stakeholders while supporting their use and enjoyment of this special resource. The program aide will work within a dynamic team including the project lead, science editors, sales and marketing manager, and the Cornell Lab’s Business Services Center. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Managing Science Editor, Conservation Media

The Managing Science Editor supervises and manages the topical and scientific research associated with Conservation Media projects including investigation of subjects for production; establishment of relationships with external researchers, organizations, and government agencies; creation of story research briefs and grant proposals for individual projects and multi-year initiatives, and adherence to editorial Standards & Practices. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Administrative Assistant IV, Center for Conservation Bioacoustics

The assistant assists leadership on all center-related administrative tasks, supports center finance specialists, and provides administrative backup for other centers at the Lab. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

IT Team Assistant

The IT Team at the Cornell Lab supports research, administrative, and outreach functions by providing a wide set of core IT services. The IT Team Assistant supports the Lab IT Team and serves Lab users. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

eBird Project Assistant

The eBird Project Assistant will collaborate with the eBird project leaders, coordinate of the eBird Help Center and communication with users, provide first-line quality assurance and quality control for all new technical developments for the eBird project, assist with eBird data quality processes worldwide and help coordinate the network of hundreds of regional editors, assist with the coordination of work with staff to ensure efficient, high-quality, and timely production, and work closely with Cornell volunteers to meet goals and objectives for eBird. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Senior Director of Information Technology

The Senior Director of Information Technology will work with program leaders and developers to provide vision, integration, and support for the organization’s growth in digital technology, ensure cybersecurity, enhance digital marketing capabilities, and maximize accessibility of all online content. This includes acting as an architect and steward of the Lab’s data, digital resources, and technical infrastructure, overseeing data collection and access to the Lab’s data through online platforms—which have grown 20% per year for the last 15 years—and supporting the Cornell Lab’s rapidly growing global online learning platform (Bird Academy). Learn more about this position and how to apply.


For many positions, Cornell University has instituted a hiring freeze as part of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For questions, contact Jen Harris at 607-255-3087.

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

Bartels Science Illustrators

The application process for the 2020-21 illustrator position is currently on hold because of the Cornell University hiring freeze. If you would like to be notified by email when a new application deadline is announced, please email Those who have already applied will have the option to submit new applications with updated materials if they choose.

Student Opportunities

Each year, dozens of students gain hands-on experience at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Come join a research project, assist with education and outreach, or apply your talents in a way that you envision. You can apply for one of the paid or volunteer positions below. Or learn about our mission and programs, then identify relevant faculty or mentors, or staff listed in our directory. Inquire about volunteering or earning credit for a project that matches your interests. (Note: high school students must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer.)

Year Round

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.

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.

Volunteer Positions

The Visitor Center is currently closed and the Lab will not be taking new volunteers until the university’s hiring freeze is lifted.

We are looking for volunteers of all abilities 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 Visitor Center volunteer corps!

From our Visitor Center overlooking Sapsucker Woods Pond, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology 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 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 Cornell Lab of Ornithology please contact Jennifer Smith at

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