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 Livability.com 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

Extension Associate

This position is available within the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Extension Associate will facilitate the use of bioacoustics and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) in wildlife research and conservation around the world. In collaboration with the other workshop instructors, the associate will be responsible for expanding in-person and virtual workshops and trainings, assisting researchers who are initiating PAM projects, collaborating on established projects, building a global network of practitioners, and helping to organize regional conferences in Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Leadership Giving Officer

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is seeking a leadership giving officer to join its Development team. The primary focus of this role is the discovery and engagement of potential leadership- and major-gift-level donors. The leadership gift officer must be a professional and persuasive representative of the Cornell Lab and the University with excellent communications skills and the ability to quickly learn about issues related to conservation, scientific research, citizen science, education and ornithology. This position will require extensive travel. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Postdoctoral Associate

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology invites applications for our Edward W. Rose Postdoctoral Fellowships. Multiple Rose Fellow positions are available annually, with 2021 applications due on October 4. This is a full-time appointment for two years, re-appointed annually with the later year conditional on satisfactory performance. Rose Postdoctoral Fellowship awards support individuals pursuing cutting-edge scholarship, while fostering intellectual interaction among Lab programs and experts from across the University. Any area of inquiry related to the Lab’s mission “to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds” is potentially appropriate. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the background materials and FAQs available at www.birds.cornell.edu/postdoc. If you have questions about this position, please email Denise Smith Colon at ads266@cornell.edu.

Research Associate, BirdNET Ecology Lead

This full-time position is in the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The successful candidate will lead conservation-oriented research with an emphasis on using BirdNET to estimate avian biodiversity. A major component of this work will be sustaining and expanding a landscape-scale passive acoustic avian biodiversity monitoring program in California’s Sierra Nevada in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and other partners and stakeholders. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Research Associate, SE Asia Team Lead

This full-time position is available within the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Center’s mission is to collect and interpret sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies for the conservation of wildlife and habitats. The successful candidate will integrate and expand existing projects in Southeast Asia, with a focus on establishing and maintaining long-term acoustic monitoring programs, broadening current capacity-building efforts, and working towards a sustainable model of collaboration with local partners and communities. 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.

Swift Recorder Software Developer

This position is in the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. The Center’s mission is to collect and interpret sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across multiple ecologically relevant scales to inspire and inform the conservation of wildlife and habitats. The Swift Recorder Software Developer will provide software development support for our terrestrial field recorder, called Swift Recorder. A software interface is used to configure the operating parameters of the recorder, and maintaining and improving this software will be the primary responsibility of the position. Read more about the Swift on our website. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Visitor Center Assistant

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is seeking a part-time, temporary Visitor Center Assistant for 20 hours per week. Assistants orient guests about what the Visitor Center has to offer, such as walking trails, exhibits, the surround-sound movie theater, and more. Duties also include answering visitor and phone inquiries plus opening and closing the Visitor Center. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

Web Developer

This position is available in the Advancement/Communications program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Join our team to help create tools and interactive applications that will engage millions of users via online and mobile platforms. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

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

Bartels Science Illustrator

The Bartels Science Illustration Program offers opportunities to early-career illustrators seeking to gain experience in the field of science illustration and expand their portfolios while working on projects that help the Lab achieve its broader mission. This unique visiting artist residency is a full-time, paid temporary appointment spanning from 6-9 months. The chosen Bartels Illustrator will need to be able to communicate ideas to others and work collaboratively and inclusively to develop visuals that further the Lab’s mission. Learn more about this position and how to apply.

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 mb252@cornell.edu. 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 mb252@cornell.edu.

Summer

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 mb252@cornell.edu. 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 we are able to reopen.

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
Requirements
  • 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
Benefits
  • 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 jls39@cornell.edu.

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