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

Preserving Past and Present in a Drawer: Specimen Preparation

A group of Cornell students measure Pitta specimens at the American Museum of Natural History; photo Teresa Pegan

When news of the rediscovery of a rare species, the Moustached Kingfisher, went viral, public support was initially positive. However, after a fiery op-ed in Huffington Post pointed out the fact that the individual bird was collected–killed so that scientists could study and preserve the body–and argued against the collection, the topic turned into a heated debate. Although some controversy still surrounds the question of when to collect specimens, many universities and museums have large and useful collections of bird specimens.

Young Bird Photographer of the Year Award: International Contest

Are you under 18? Do you photograph birds? If so, you qualify for the Young Bird Photographer of the Year Award, sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust and the British Trust for Ornithology. This award is a part of the Bird Photographer of the Year contest, an international competition to encourage awareness of bird conservation […]

Announcing the Young Birders Club of Wisconsin!


Adding to the ever-growing list of Young Birders Clubs across the country is the new Young Birders Club of Wisconsin. Started by Ryan Treves and sponsored by the Madison Audubon Society and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, this club aims to connect young birders grades 5-12 at meetings, field trips, and activities across the state.

Fostering a Love of Nature: White Pine Middle School Birding Club

Photo credit Daryl Bernard

Daryl Bernard is a long-time birder and a science teacher at White Pine Middle School in Saginaw, Michigan. He recently started a birding club at the school to encourage his students to pay attention to the world outside, and I checked in with him to find out more about what the club has been doing.

A Field Guide to Writing College Essays

For both birders and non-birders who are seniors in high school, it’s college essay writing season–often a time of confusion, stress, and frustration. However, I’d argue that birders have it easy when it comes to writing college essays. Admissions officers want to see an applicant’s personality and dedication–and what better way to show your abilities […]

Summer with the Birds: Searching for Research Jobs

Aidan Rominger with a Seaside Sparrow

For birders in high school or underclassmen in college, both getting involved in biological research and getting a summer job can be quite formidable, but combining the two can be a wonderful experience. Two important keys are finding a job that matches your skills and experience and communicating those skills well. Below are some tips […]

Registration for ABA and Hog Island Young Birder Camps now open!

Hog Island Audubon Camp 2013. Photo Sarah Toner

Are you looking for something fun to do over the summer of 2016? Consider a young birder camp! These are great opportunities to travel to incredible places, meet other young birders, and learn about future careers involving birds. The American Birding Association offers two camps: Camp Colorado will have two dates, July 16-22 and July […]

Announcing the Seattle Young Birders Program

The Seattle Audubon Young Birders on a field trip.

Young Birder Clubs (YBCs) are a relatively new phenomenon, but they have exploded in popularity. These clubs provide a place where young birders can connect with their peers, learn about opportunities in the future, and increase their birding skills, in addition to having a ton of fun!  There are now YBCs in more than 28 states and at least four countries, and more are founded each year.  The Young Birders Network maintains a directory of all of the clubs, which can be found here.

Birding and Beyond: Applied Science at Seney NWR

This week’s post is written by the new student in charge of the YBN, Sarah Toner. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Sarah is starting as a freshman at Cornell this year. You can find Sarah’s biography here. My alarm clock went off with a loud “whip-poor-will.” I hastily groped around for it and turned it […]

Taking a Break for Birding: Kaija Gahm’s Gap Year

Kaija releasing a Sharp-shinned Hawk

This week, we’re fortunate to have Kaija Gahm on the site to discuss her gap year in between high school and college. Kaija is currently in Duluth, Minnesota working with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and will be attending Yale University next fall. Kaija will be documenting her gap year adventures on her blog, kaijasgap.weebly.com.