Alli Smith

Project Coordinator

I connect people to the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID by doing talks, webinars, and other outreach activities, and assist Merlin users by managing the help desk. I love supporting birders both new and experienced, and Merlin is an amazing tool that can help anybody learn!

My love of birds was sparked on a middle-school field trip to Cape May to see the annual spring spawning of horseshoe crabs and the shorebirds that depend on them (what’s cooler than thousands of birds fueling up on the eggs of prehistoric-looking crabs!?). I attended the Young Birders Event here at the lab in 2011 and learned that there are careers that focus on bird conservation, and I continued on to get a BS in Wildlife Ecology to pursue the dream of working with birds.

In the many jobs I’ve worked since graduating (with puffins, shorebirds, and owls) I’ve found the most impactful experiences to be working with citizen scientists, volunteers and birders, which is what has led me to my current role with Merlin. Birding and citizen science has an amazing and huge positive impact on conservation and our understanding of birds, and Merlin is a fantastic way to help birders of all levels connect with the birds around them.


B.S. Wildlife Science, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)

Favorite Bird

Favorite bird: Red Knot!

Outside the Cornell Lab

Outside of work, I spend my time on art projects, mostly crocheting and ceramics. Most of my art is inspired by birds, and I’m working on a long-term personal project to create ceramic works of every North American species!

Woman with dog in front of a waterfall, wrapped up against the cold and rain.
Center Macaulay Library
Projects Merlin

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library