Job Opportunities

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

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Located at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in the 220-acre Sapsucker Woods sanctuary, 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 & Life Sciences, where several full-time faculty teach undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, and manage world-class, mission-driven programs. 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.

Lab Manager

The Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Lab Manager. Duties include:

  • Provide high level technical oversight for an animal molecular genomics laboratory that supports research on a broad variety of organisms and topics using a diverse array of traditional and next-generation technologies.
  • Oversee the work of the lab's large research community of students, postdoctoral scholars, affiliated faculty, and visiting researchers (25-30 people in total at any given time, with high turn-over among short-term affiliates).
  • Train and subsequent independent oversight of students and other lab users (including novices) learning traditional and next-generation molecular lab skills, including DNA extraction, PCR amplification, microsatellite and SNP analysis, and DNA sequencing.
  • Provide equivalent training of lab users in project design and implementation skills.
  • Provide oversight of lab users in the design, troubleshooting, and implementation of projects using next generation genetic/genomic tools, potentially including GBS, ddRAD, high throughput SNP genotyping, Illumina sequencing, transcriptome analysis, and similar approaches.
  • Independently generate and analyze next-generation genomic datasets in support of lab-wide research projects.
  • Manage all day-to-day laboratory operations and infrastructure.
  • Oversee and ensure long-term security of data and sample archives, including an extensive collection of 30,000+ genomic and tissue samples.
  • Ensure that laboratory and its users meet all standard laboratory safety guidelines.
  • Pursue independent research and publications using avian genetics.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references. Applications will be reviewed throughout the month of April.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in a biology-related field.
  • 2-3 years of experience in a molecular biology laboratory.
  • Mastery of routine methods in molecular biology such as DNA sequencing and extraction and PCR amplification.
  • Ability to prepare reports and analyses for presentation to others.
  • Must be personable, flexible, possess excellent organizational and communication skills and take pride in their work.
  • Ability to develop effective working relationships and maintain positive working relationships within a diverse laboratory group.
  • Visual concentration, attention to detail and manual dexterity required.
  • Must be able to work independently as well as in a team environment.
  • Ability to respond effectively in an environment in which priorities change.
  • Must exercise sound and ethical judgment when acting on behalf of the University.
  • Experience using some combination of next generation genetic/genomic tools such as GBS, ddRAD, SNP genotyping, Illumina sequencing, transcriptome analysis, and similar approaches.
  • Prior supervision experience.
  • Prior experience with budgets and financial transactions.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Advanced degree in a relevant area and research experience relevant to genetic/genomic studies of any group of organisms.
  • Previous laboratory management experience strongly preferred.
  • Applicants to be adept at both traditional and next-generation molecular laboratory and analysis skills, including current genomic and transcriptomic tools.
  • Experience with genetic and field studies of wild vertebrates such as birds.

Technology Research Director

Are you a technical research professional who enjoys leading others to improve the environment? We are currently conducting a search for a Technology Research Director for Cornell's World Renowned Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Department Background
At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, scientists, conservationists, engineers, educators, and students work together to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science. The Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) develops new tools and techniques to monitor the world's rare and elusive species on land, sea, and in the air. BRP, the largest of 12 programmatic units collects and interprets sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across multiple ecological scales to inspire and inform conservation of wildlife and habitats. In addition to conducting basic research, BRP provides bioacoustic monitoring tools, services, and expertise to partners and customers in academia, government, and industry. To learn more about BRP and the Lab of Ornithology click here.

Rewards & Benefits:

  • Lead a team focused on innovative technology development to support a conservation mission
  • Explore novel technical solutions to scientific questions
  • Publish and present work at domestic and international conferences
  • Work in beautiful Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, New York
  • Earn competitive compensation, generous time-off, and great benefits for individuals and families
  • Take advantage of career Life Balance opportunities such as: Commuter Support Services, Flexible Work Schedule, Employee Wellness, Adoption Assistance, click here to learn more about our benefits.

Key Deliverables:
As a senior leader of the BRP Technology Team, you will work in a collaborative environment, leading a group of highly motivated, technically advanced engineers, researchers, and scientists. Specific tasks include:

  • Providing leadership for the development of a state-of-the-art integrated systems to acquire, process, and visualize bioacoustics data.
  • Maintaining and fostering a cohesive, collaborative and knowledgeable team of technology professionals, including algorithm researchers, software developers, hardware engineers, and field technicians.
  • Directing original research in the area of signal processing, electrical engineering and/or data visualization and management. Collaborating with biologists on original research for bioacoustic solutions.
  • Seeking and securing funding sources to support BRP's research and technology goals.
  • Publishing methods and research in peer-reviewed technical and scientific journals.
  • Representing BRP and the Lab by presenting at conferences and workshops.
3 year term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon availability of funding and performance. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references.

Core Competencies:
We need a leader who values collaboration, problem solving, and designing solutions to support bioacoustics research. Specifically we are looking for the following traits:

  • Master's degree required, PhD preferred in electrical, mechanical or computer engineering, computer science or related field
  • Significant research and development experience in one or more of the following areas: signal-processing algorithms, systems engineering, data acquisition devices, data management systems, or data visualization tools
  • Prior supervisory or management experience
  • Proven experience in the integration of large-scale, multi-layered projects requiring a systems engineering approach
  • Experience securing funding for research and development grants and/or contracts

Due to the high volume of responses, only those applicants who best match our needs will be contacted for an interview.


To apply for an internship, send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Most internships are unpaid but hours are flexible and course credit is possible. Minimum commitment is generally six hours per week. Cornell undergraduates are eligible to be considered for a limited number of paid internships each year. The Nancy Horton Bartels ‘48 Scholars gift supports Cornell undergraduate interns at the Lab during the summer. The Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund supports the engagement of Cornell undergraduates at the Lab, with preference given to students involved in interdisciplinary projects with other colleges, departments, and units at Cornell.

BirdSleuth Communications and Sales Internship, K-12 Education Program

BirdSleuth is a K-12 science curriculum resource developed and distributed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's education department aimed at engaging students in their own scientific research, encouraging student participating in Citizen Science projects, and leading educator professional development. The program seeks a dependable and organized intern to assist with daily operations and communications. Regular tasks include fulfilling sales invoices, maintaining inventory, promoting resources and materials in social media outlets, writing blogs, editing copy, and providing ongoing general program support.

The position is posted as paid internship, 25 hours per week (Federal Work Study preferred). A flexible work schedule is possible, though generally Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A free shuttle travels between Corson-Mudd and Lab frequently when classes are in session, and there is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab (TCAT route 41). Free parking is available.

Required Qualifications

  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to pack and lift large boxes for shipping
  • Strong writing and editing skills
  • Experience with social media maintenance
  • Knowledge and interest in science, birds, and the environment
  • Self-motivated, strong work ethic
  • Attention to detail
  • Dependable
  • Collaborative spirit
  • Current Cornell undergraduate student
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience with professional blogging and other writing experience
  • Familiarity with Power Point, Excel, Survey Monkey, Wordpress, and Hubspot
  • Experience working in educational settings and/or youth outreach programs
  • Coursework, basic knowledge, and/or interest in birds
The internship is available for the summer 2014 semester. To apply, please send a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications for this position, along with your resume and contact information for at least two references to Please visit for more information about the program.

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 web sites. 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 (work) or 607-342-4811 (cell).


The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to a college senior or graduate student to study areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For more information about this scholarship and how to apply, see the proposal guidelines. If you wish to apply, you will also need to submit a personal information form.

The Walter E. Benning Fund provides scholarship assistance to a Cornell University graduate student studying ornithology and its relevance to conservation. The annual award is about $500. Apply by January 15 of every year by submitting a short (two page maximum) proposal describing your research, relevance to conservation, schedule of completion, and funding. Mail to Irby Lovette, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Interested in leading bird walks in Sapsucker Woods, helping in the visitors’ center at the Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, or becoming a docent? For more information, please contact us at 254-2473 or (800) 843-2473.

Student Jobs

Working just a few hours a week provides you with a multitude of benefits. You will meet new people and adapt more quickly to your new environment. You will develop new skills and improve existing skills while building a network of contacts and good references that will ultimately increase your marketability for summer and post-Cornell jobs. Working part-time also helps improve your time-management skills. Not to mention you'll earn money to help cover some of your Cornell expenses!

To apply for the positions below, please send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Full-time registered Cornell students are eligible to be considered for these positions.

Student Jobs

There are no open positions for student jobs at this time.
An interactive online course in Bird Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry from the Lab of Ornithology is newly available
Birds of North America Online, ultimate source for bird info, join for $5/month
Shop for our Causes, your purchase supports our mission
My Bird World is a collection of four delightful games that teach you about North American birds.