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

Please apply for the positions below through the Jobs at Cornell website unless otherwise specified. When you submit your application, be sure to attach a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references. In the Experience section of your application, use the Paperclip icon to search for file(s) or use the ‘Drop Files Here’ box to manually drag document(s) into your application. For questions, contact Jen Harris at 607-255-3087.

Bartels Science Illustrators

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers  paid positions to early-career visiting illustrators through the Bartels Science Illustration Program each year. Starting in Fall 2019, we are aligning these appointments with Cornell’s academic cycle, with each new illustrator joining the Lab community in mid-August and then continuing through the full academic year to the following June or July. Each participant works on art and design projects illustrating birds, wildlife, and scientific concepts related to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s mission “to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.”  Learn more about this position and how to apply. For questions, please direct queries to

Data Coordinator

The data coordinator works with the Membership Services Team to coordinate data imports and exports, acknowledgement and premium lists, renewal notices and other solicitations, publication mailings, and additional data requests to support various Lab efforts. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Data Visualization Developer

The data visualization developer works with project staff and designers to create compelling visual stories that appeal to a wide variety of audiences, from science experts to the general public. Interactive web-based data visualizations created will include, but are not limited to, maps, graphs, charts, and other novel visualizations. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Web Developer

The Cornell Lab is seeking a motivated and creative web developer to join our teams in producing inspiring and interactive experiences through online and mobile platforms, including distance-learning courses, citizen-science projects, live Bird Cams, and interactive rich-media features and stories on our Webby Award winning site at Learn more about this position and how to apply.

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

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.

Science Journalism Summer Position

Are you a Cornell undergraduate who would love the opportunity to share your passion for birds and writing with the public through science communication? Gain valuable hands-on experience in reporting, writing, and production in a full-time science journalism position at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology this summer. Work with the Lab’s science editors to develop story ideas and pitch them for publication by Living Bird magazine, the All About Birds website, or other Cornell Lab channels. Bring your ideas to life and share scientific insights with your readers by interviewing scientists or students and weaving their voices into your story. Produce compelling print or online articles, including opportunities to assist with production related to photography, illustration, multimedia, fact checking, editing, social media, and digital content management.

This 10-week full-time summer position includes a $5,000 stipend from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Science Communication Fund, thanks to Jay Branegan ¹72 and Stefania Pittaluga. To apply, you must be a Cornell undergraduate. Prepare a cover letter that explains your interest and qualifications; resume including experience related to writing or journalism; and two examples of your writing that best demonstrate your ability to connect with a general audience on topics related to science and nature. Send your application to Miyoko Chu, senior director of Communications, at Apply soon: We will consider applications on a rolling basis and will make an offer between now and March 31, 2020.


K-12 Education Assistant

A dependable student is needed to help with special projects such as crafting social media messages, curriculum/resource development, and planning for and participating in community outreach events and workshops. This is a paid position, 8 to 10 hours per week for the 2019-20 academic year. Applicants must be a current Cornell undergraduate student and quality for Federal Work Study. Learn more about duties, qualifications, and how to apply.

K-12 Education, Feature Writing Assistant

Looking for a student to help identify publications targeting the middle-school-level education community and work with K-12 educators to develop, pitch, and write full-length articles featuring the accomplishments and achievements of teachers and classrooms using the K-12 program. This internship is available for fall 2019, with possibility of continuance into the spring 2020 semester. Must be a current Cornell undergraduate student and qualify for the Federal Work Study Program. Learn more about duties, qualifications, and how to apply.

Volunteer Positions

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 Chelsea Benson at

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