Welcome to the Young Birders Network

The Young Birders Network aims to provide resources for young birders to connect and learn, while giving their adult advocates resources to encourage and support. The network is coordinated by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and includes dozens of partners.

News and Features

YBN Challenge Update


Now that it’s October, the seasons are shifting. In the Northern Hemisphere, the breeding season is wrapping up; in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s just getting started. Migrants are crossing borders, giving birders the chance to experience a diversity of new species, and there’s always the potential for a stunning rarity. The Young Birders Network Challenges are still ongoing, and now’s the perfect time to submit your lists through the Young Birders Network portal.

The Importance of Young Birder Events

Camp Chiricahua 2014 watches a sunset over the Chiricahuas. Photo by Rosemary Kramer

As I wrapped up school and started the summer of 2014, I couldn’t have been more excited. I was going to Camp Chiricahua to spend two weeks visiting the legendary birding hotspots of Southeast Arizona while guided by expert birders and surrounded by birders my own age who were just as gung-ho about birding as I was. Even better, three of the sixteen birders were my close friends who had helped me start the Michigan Young Birders Club. I had met some of the campers at other events in the past, while I knew others only from Facebook groups for young birders.

Summer Breeding Bird Challenges: An Interview with Alex Wiebe

Recently fledged young includes these downy Killdeer chicks and confirms breeding for this species. Jay McGowan/Macaulay Library (ML29292751)

This week, we interviewed Alex Wiebe, a freshman birder at Cornell University. Alex has done many big days and competitive birding events, from setting monthly big day records in his home state of Maryland to leading winning teams in the World Series of Birding run by New Jersey Audubon. Last summer, Alex and many of his young birder friends created a competition to document breeding for as many species in Maryland as possible.

Summer Opportunities: Camps, Conferences, and Careers

White-crowned Sparrow by John Riegsecker/Macaulay Library. ML 28458541

As the school year begins to wind down, it’s time to start planning for the summer (if you haven’t already!). Here, we’re highlighting a couple of new ornithology-related opportunities for summer 2016.

YBN Macaulay Challenge: The Power of a Smartphone

A Southern Giant-petrel, taken with an iPhone through binoculars--from a boat!

The idea of submitting materials to the Macaulay Library can be intimidating to many birders. “None of my photos are professional grade.” “What information do I need to record?” “How do I record audio?” Getting good photos of small, constantly moving birds can be a challenge, but the good news is that every piece of data is worth something, and it is relatively easy to get informative and good-quality samples with very little tools or effort.

Announcing the Young Birders Network 2016 Challenges!

Le Conte's Sparrow photo by Nathan Martineau

From now until the end of the year, the Young Birders Network will be hosting two eBird challenges, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Each challenge winner will get a pair of Zeiss Terra binoculars! All you have to do is submit eBird checklists through the Young Birders Network portal, and you could have a new pair of binoculars! Read on to learn more.

Working with Wildlife: Interview with Anna Buckardt

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This week’s post is an interview with Anna Buckhardt. Anna is pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Maine, where she is studying woodcocks. She attended the first Cornell Young Birder’s Event in 2009 and graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management. Since then, she has worked in a variety of bird-related field jobs, turning her passion into her career.

Better Birding: Using eBird to Plan Trips


     The eBird database is an unprecedented resource for scientists, and it contains a wealth of information for birders of all skill levels as well. Certainly, one of the most frustrating experiences is birding a location only to find out that there was a good bird there that you didn’t know about and missed. […]

Applying for Summer Jobs: Writing a Cover Letter

Photo by Natasha Bartolotta

It’s peak season for finding summer bird jobs. Many deadlines are coming up quickly. Most summer jobs ask for a cover letter, a resume, and references. With that in mind, here are a few tips for writing a cover letter that conveys your enthusiasm and experience.

The Cornell Lab 2016 Young Birders Event

Eastern Meadowlark

Cross-posted from the eBird homepage. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is excited to host our annual Young Birders Event, which will be held July 7 – 10, 2016 in Ithaca, New York. The Young Birders Event aims to bring together teenagers (students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors) with a passion for birds who are interested […]