Staff bios

Greetings from the extended eBird Team! In case you’ve wondered who is behind this project, we wanted to introduce ourselves. We are based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the Information Science and Macaulay Library programs. Members of this team help develop and manage eBird, the Macaulay Library, Birds of North America, Neotropical Birds, Merlin, and other essential projects. Besides working together on these projects, the real thing that brings us together is our shared passion for birds and conservation—we relish the opportunity to build tools for others to embrace that same passion. Together, with your help, we work towards fulfilling the mission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity.

We are always looking for new team members who share our passion. If you are interested in joining the team, please visit Jobs at eBird.

Meet the team

Bruno Arantes

Android Developer

brunoBruno is a passionate birdwatcher and application developer. He’s currently working on the Merlin Android app and hoping to see more and more birdwatchers around the world taking advantage of its bird identification capabilities. When time allows, he may be found backpacking here and there in search of lifers, singing karaoke, or watching the night skies. Bruno works remotely from Brasil, reveling in the amazing avifauna that this fantastic country has to offer.

Tom Auer

GIS Developer

Tom is a Geographic Information Science (GIS) Developer for the Information Science program at the Cornell Lab. Tom’s passion for birding was brewed in Michigan’s vagrant-rich Upper Peninsula decades ago and he’s been a fervent eBirder as long he can remember it existing. An interest in all things spatial led Tom to an M.S. in Geography at Penn State, where he studied the perception of animated eBird data visualizations. Combining his education with years of experience in programming web maps, geovisualizations, and spatial processing applications, Tom now plies his trade on eBird’s Spatiotemporal Exploratory Model, fulfilling his lifelong dream to essentially spend his day making maps of bird distributions. When not writing code for eBird, Tom writes scripts that identify spatial holes in the database and then heads out to fill those gaps with complete checklists.

Sara Barker

Land Trust Project Leader

Sara is the program leader for the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative, and She assists land managers and practitioners in managing habitat for priority bird species and helps build capacity for the land trust and private lands community around birds. Her passions include caring for and stewarding our natural world and the wildlife that inhabitant it as well as applying science to action on the ground. She enjoys working alongside stakeholders through science, management, education, and outreach to attain conservation outcomes.

Jessie Barry

Macaulay Library and Merlin

jhbbioJessie keeps projects moving in the Macaulay Library and Merlin. She joined the Lab in 2008 as the Assistant Curator of Audio in the Macaulay Library, then went on to lead Merlin, and is now back in the Macaulay Library as the program manager. Jessie started watching birds at age 10 on the shore of Lake Ontario. She was lucky to have migrating raptors, waterfowl, and warblers streaming through her neighborhood when she was a kid in Rochester, NY. After spending some time out west at the University of Washington studying molt-migration, traveling and taking field jobs throughout the Americas, she is happy to back in New York. Working at the Lab brings new challenges each day and rarely is a meeting not interrupted by a bird spotted out the window. Jessie is a member of Team Sapsucker and loves big days! She is counting down until Global Big Day.

Kathi Borgmann

Communications Coordinator, Macaulay Library

Kathi is the Communications Coordinator for the Macaulay Library and loves writing and talking about all things bird. Kathi is a passionate birder and recordist who has traveled throughout much of North and South America tracking down birds, making eBird checklists and contributing sounds to the Macaulay Library. She also writes popular articles about birds and birdwatching that have been featured in Neotropical Birding, The American Birding Association’s Birder’s Guide, and Living Bird. Kathi earned her Master’s Degree in ornithology from The Ohio State University and her Ph.D. in ornithology from the University of Arizona. In her free time, Kathi enjoys going birding of course, but also enjoys traveling, cooking, and sewing.

Tayler Brooks

Archival Coordinator, Macaulay Library

Tayler works in content creation and new feature development for the Merlin Bird ID app. By using her field experience of identifying birds by sound, she is working towards expanding the audio resources in the Merlin app. She also helps curate content used by Merlin and eBird’s Explore Species. For Tayler, there is no better way to fully appreciate the bird life around you than through hearing their voices. Her obsession with birds and the sounds they make began at age 11. She is thrilled to have the chance to help anyone cultivate a deeper appreciation of the natural world through the birds around them!

Mike Charnoky

Applications Programmer

Mike develops software and computer infrastructure used to manage content related to the life histories of birds. This software helps to power a number of websites and apps at the Lab, including Birds of North America, Neotropical Birds, Merlin and All About Birds. Mike loves being able to apply technology to provide useful services to aid researchers, policy makers and birders. Mike has worked in the public transit sector developing software to let passengers know when their bus is coming, in computer security working on a network security appliance, and in digital audio building software for radio.

David Childs

DevOps Engineer

David architects infrastructure and processes for continuous integration and automated delivery of software.

Jenna Curtis

eBird Project Leader

Jenna’s focus is on outreach and engaging with the global eBird community. She prepares content for the eBird front page, social media, and monthly newsletters and maintains the eBird Help Center. Jenna also assists with coordinating eBird’s team of volunteer reviewers. A native Oregonian, Jenna earned her MS and PhD in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University. Jenna’s bird-adjacent interests include knitting, sewing, and spending time outdoors.

Ian Davies

eBird Project Coordinator

Ian works as the eBird Project Coordinator at the Cornell Lab in Ithaca. He focuses on project coordination and management, as well as outreach and engagement—doing what he can to help eBird keep growing and moving forward. He’s the lead on eBird Atlases, and the primary point of contact for most eBird portal collaborations. He also helps to coordinate the eBird Mobile and eBird website development teams. When Ian isn’t thinking eBird thoughts, he enjoys planning trips to various obscure places around the world.

André Dhondt

Director, Bird Population Studies

As the Director of the Bird Population Studies program André designs and coordinates bird-related research. He developed multiple citizen science projects in collaboration with Rick Bonney and other colleagues. André joined the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University in 1994 as the Director of the Bird Population Studies program and as the first Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As the Morgens Professor of Ornithology he teaches and supervises research of undergraduate and graduate students, and collaborates with colleagues both at Cornell and elsewhere. André is also a member of the Academia Europaea.

Adriaan Dokter

Research Associate, Center for Avian Population Studies

Adriaan is a Research Associate at the Center of Avian Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where he studies the movements and demography of migratory birds. He started birding at an early age in the dunes and agricultural grasslands surrounding the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands and has been an avid birder (and bird bander) ever since. For Project Birdcast Adriaan uses weather radar networks to study the mass migrations of birds at night and creates nightly live migration maps to track the movement of avifauna across the US. Adriaan is interested in how nightly movements of birds detected by radar are related to observations of eBirders during the day, and his research integrates these complementary datasets to improve our understanding of when, where and why birds migrate. Adriaan leads an NSF Macrosystems project that aims to estimate the birth and death rates of birds using both eBird and radar data at very large spatial scales, in order improve our understanding of the causes of declines seen in many migratory species.

Iain Downie

Android Developer

Iain is the Android developer for eBird, working remotely from the UK. As a keen ornithologist he is enthusiastic about working with AND for the global birdwatching community to engage in citizen science projects. Prior to joining the Lab Iain led the web and mobile development teams at the British Trust for Ornithology. His other interests revolve around arachnology (with a PhD in upland invertebrate ecology from University of Durham) and long-distance triathlon. His most recent highlight was seeing Gyrfalcon (twice!) on a visit to the Ithaca area.

Rick Elliker

Lead Media Engineer, Macaulay Library

Rick is responsible for the quality, safety, and availability of the entire Macaulay Library archive. He provides engineering support for all Macaulay Library field, archival, and storage hardware systems and software. He is also involved heavily in lab wide workflows and storage solutions.

Andrew Farnsworth

Senior Research Associate, Project Birdcast

First and foremost, Andrew studies bird migration. He does this primarily in two ways: by lifting binoculars to watch birds literally move from one place to another, and by taking advantage of incredible and rapid 20th century technological advances in radar and acoustic remote sensing. For the former, Andrew works closely with the eBird team and a cadre of collaborators to understand patterns of bird movements by examining observations from an armada of citizen scientists; for the latter, he mentors postdoctoral fellows who can help me leverage partnerships with computer scientists to apply cutting edge machine learning tools to understand patterns from enormous quantities of radar and acoustic data.

Jennifer Fee

Manager of K-12 Programs

Jennifer has been at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the Education Program since 2004, when she was hired to develop and field test a curriculum to engage middle school students in eBird. She is currently the Manager of K-12 Programs, including the BirdSleuth K-12 suite of curricula and professional development opportunities. These resources support young people in getting outside, contributing to citizen science, and doing their own science investigations… all inspired by birds. She enjoys traveling to new places to add species to her eBird life list while sharing citizen science with teachers during professional development workshops.

Daniel Fink

Senior Research Associate, Information Science

Daniel develops statistical and computational tools to understand the broad-scale patterns of species’ distributions using crowd-sourced observational data collected by citizen scientists. This includes the projects to develop predictive models for exploration and visualization of non-stationary spatiotemporal processes, methods to identify and describe the environmental determinants of distributional patterns, computational approaches that scale with large data, and the application of these results to address ecological and conservation problems. You may be familiar with his STEM visualizations.

Tom Fredericks

Database Administrator (DBA)

taf1Tom joined the Lab in 1997, and has monitored and administered databases for eBird and many other Lab projects ever since. He designed the eBird database, and has been with Team eBird since its inception. Part of his work is coming up with data structures that make queries on the growing database efficient, so the contents of pages like Life Lists, Top 100, etc. can be retrieved and displayed quickly. Prior to coming to the Lab, he wrote applications and managed databases for the Cornell Vet School. He is grateful to be administering a database that has such passionate and enthusiastic users and is used to make a real world positive difference in bird conservation. When not DBAing, Tom enjoys most things aquatic – snorkeling, scuba, and planted freshwater aquarium keeping among them. He can also be found occasionally playing fiddle for summer contradances on the Ithaca Commons.

Joshua Ganger

Systems Administrator

Joshua assists in the operation and maintenance of the Lab’s internal and external facing IT systems. Joshua has worked in various IT operations roles for for many years and is happy to be doing so now to support the Lab and it’s mission.

John Garrett

eBird Project Assistant

jfgJohn has been obsessed with eBird since 2008. This recently landed him a job as the eBird Project Assistant, a year-long position for post-undergraduate students. His roles include working at the eBird Help Center, beta-testing new developments, and working with eBird’s team of Regional and Hotspot Editors. Originally from Southern California, he helps review eBird observations in Los Angeles County—a daunting county with both the most species and the most eBird checklists. He’s spent the last four years doing fieldwork throughout North America, from Nevada to Puerto Rico to Massachusetts to Veracruz. In his free time, he also enjoys using eBird and losing at chess.

Jeff Gerbracht

Lead Application Developer, Information Science

Jeff is the technical lead for the Information Science program at the Cornell Lab. He oversees the software development and system architecture teams responsible for eBird, Birds of North America, Neotropical Birds and a number of other projects. His interest in birds and birding started at the age of 9 with a ‘friendly’ bird ID competition on a family vacation to Alaska. When not looking at birds in New York or the Caribbean, Jeff enjoys scuba diving, skiing and just about anything else that gets him outdoors.

Cullen Hanks

Project Manager

Cullen grew up in Texas with a love for natural history and adventure. As a teenager he connected with the birding community, which provided the framework that has defined his career. Cullen earned a BA in biology from Cornell University and a Master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin where he researched the economics of the parrot trade and conservation. At the Macaulay Library, Cullen manages several projects involving data collection and media curation. He also works on projects that tap into the contribution of different naturalist communities.

Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta

Director of the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program

Osvel directs the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program at the Cornell Lab, with the main goal to build conservation capacity along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Chile for communities and shorebirds. Osvel has been working in conservation and research projects in northwestern Mexico since 1997, in particular in coastal and riparian areas of the Sonoran Desert. Some of his recent activities include the evaluation and recovery of protected species, the implementation of community-based restoration projects, and the creation of partnerships with governments and stakeholders for the conservation of nature.

Wesley Hochachka

Assistant Director, Bird Population Studies

Wes works as a research scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, mostly on studies that aim to identify why bird species live where they do. He is part of a multi-university research team looking at the impacts of a bacterial disease on House Finches, where my interests are largely related to identifying the impacts of this disease on the abundance of House Finches across North America. He is also part of the group of data analysts extracting biological insights from the data collected in the citizen-science project eBird: describing species ranges, identifying their habitat associations, describing seasonal changes in distributions, and similar work.

Marshall Iliff

eBird Project Leader

Marshall started birding at his home in Annapolis and spent his next 18 years hoping and praying for something like eBird to come along. In 2007, Marshall joined his longtime friends Brian and Chris as an eBird Project Leader and has been working ever since to help build it into the ultimate birding resource. A zen master of Excel, Marshall coordinates the annual taxonomy updates for eBird, commanding great power within the eBird team through the control of our life list totals. When he is not working, Marshall can be found birding anywhere, including at patches near, far, and really far.

Jasdev Imani

Application Developer

Jasdev is an application developer for eBird and Merlin, where he has recently been busy training the computer vision models that power Merlin Photo ID. His birding life began as a teenager in East Africa and India and this sparked a life-long love of birds, nature, and the great outdoors. Jasdev brings a diverse range of experience to the Lab including many years of web development and systems design, and several years as a development economist in Africa and Europe. Away from the Lab you might find him climbing, sailing, cycling, or hiking with his family – but a pair of binoculars is never far away.

Alison Johnston

Research Associate

Alison develops statistical methods that help us learn more about the natural world. She analyzes data from the eBird project, developing analytical approaches that uncover patterns in the data and increase our knowledge about birds. By analyzing the eBird dataset in new ways, Ali helps us discover new knowledge about birds. This knowledge can inform conservation decisions and develop effective and targeted conservation plans.

Laura Kammermeier

Sales and Marketing Manager, Birds of the World

Laura Kammermeier is the sales and marketing manager for Birds of the World. By managing customer communications, advertising, and promotions, she helps bring the content to a growing network of scientists, birders, nonprofits, and academic libraries around the world.

Brooke Keeney

Managing Editor for Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds

brookebioBrooke is the managing editor for BNA and NB. She handles the publication of species accounts from draft to final product (and anything in between!). She is particularly involved with graphics, maps, and other rich media, and scours the dark corners of the Internet for the choicest bird images available. She is thrilled to be at the Cornell Lab, where she can combine her background in educational resource design with her passion to make digital natural history engaging, authoritative, and accessible. A lifelong naturalist, Brooke has been interested in birds since childhood -but in all honesty- her enthusiasm extends to most anything with a backbone (and many things without!). She has a PhD in evolutionary physiology, and has worked in museums and on various lab and field-based projects on everything from experimental evolution in mice, to hummingbird neuroanatomy. In her free time, Brooke enjoys working on her art, checking out local eBird hotspots, and traveling around the world to places with the best bird/snake ratios.

Frank La Sorte

Research Associate

Frank is a research ecologist whose work explores the macroecology, biogeography, and conservation of plants and birds with a special focus on migratory birds and global change.

Tim Levatich

Database Administrator

Tim works on the database servers at the Cornell Lab, which store and serve data to support web applications and in-house information systems. The databases contain the data for projects such as eBird, Project FeederWatch, Great Backyard Bird Count, the Macaulay Library, our Membership and Philanthropy systems, and other Lab programs. Tim enjoys making sure our database systems are running well, while preparing for future upgrades and architecture improvements. Tim brings his love of ecology, forests, forest management, and conservation to his work. In his spare time, he is out in the woods trying to sneak up on pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, and crows.

Shawn Ligocki

Data Engineer

Shawn works on the eBird Status and Trends team which produces modeled data and maps of bird abundance and year-to-year trends across the entire Western Hemisphere. His role is to support scaling this process up towards the goal of analyzing all 10,000 bird species across the entire globe and extending the software and processes to work in multiple compute environments as well as troubleshooting any computing issues they run into.

Taylor Long

User Interface Designer

long_taylor_ebird_bio_picTaylor is a User Interface Designer for the Information Science program at the Cornell Lab. As a UI designer, he shapes the development of new eBird features in their earliest design phases, working with developers and project leaders to decide how features should look and behave. He endeavors to make each facet of the eBird interface understandable, easy to use, and enjoyable for birders everywhere. Prior to joining the eBird team, he worked as a Web Cartographer for the National Park Service in Denver, Colorado. When not designing for eBird, Taylor likes to spend his time adding to his modest yet ever-growing life list, sharing his love of map-making with others, and enjoying the great outdoors with his wonderful wife and daughter.

Jay McGowan

Archival Coordinator, Macaulay Library

Jay’s primary responsibilities involve archival of audio and video specimens, and he manages the audio and video equipment loaner fleet.

Matt Medler

Macaulay Library Collections Management Leader

Medler Ilha GrandeMatt is a long-time member of the Macaulay Library, where he works with new and existing contributors to preserve their recordings in the ML archive. He was introduced to birdwatching by his freshman roommate at Cornell, and became totally hooked on birds after his first visit to Sapsucker Woods. Since that time, he has traveled to Europe, New Zealand, Central and South America, and across North America, to study, sound record, and film birds. When he is not working, Matt enjoys traveling to northern New York to sound record in the Adirondacks and go eBirding along the shores of Lake Champlain.

Eliot Miller

Macaulay Library Collections Development Manager

Eliot is the Collections Development Manager for the Macaulay Library. He is responsible for strategically growing the Macaulay archive, increasing rates of data collection, and improving data quality. He interfaces with a variety of lab programs, including Information Science, as well as with outside partners. He uses his research background to communicate with other scientists wishing to contribute to and use Macaulay assets, and he pursues his own evolutionary and ecological research questions using the collections as time permits. Eliot has been a naturalist since a young age, and enjoys watching, identifying, and counting things like birds, plants, mushrooms, amphibians, reptiles, and just about anything that means he gets to be outside.

Will Morris

Designer

Will is a designer for eBird and Merlin and coordinates visual and user interface design across the Center for Avian Population Studies and Macaulay Library. Will has a background in studio art, data visualization, and web development. A late-comer to birding, Will is slowly working on his ID skills and building a life list.

Steve Morrow

Database Administrator

Steve works with the DBA (Database Administration) team to manage the Lab’s database systems—including eBird, Macaulay Library, and Data Warehouses—ensuring optimal performance, availability, security, and integrity of each. Plus he manages the Information Science group’s hot sauce bar.

Francisco Padilla

iOS Software Engineer

Francisco works on the development of the eBird app for iPhones. In the past he’s worked as a web application developer in companies and startups, and also as independent freelance iOS Developer. Francisco is always motivated to get new knowledge and experience on science and technology. Francisco considers himself an electronic engineer, and is interested in new challenges for internet usage and innovative ideas.

Brian Petersen

Application Developer

Brian has been writing software for the Cornell Lab since 2017 and now Brian develops application services and user interfaces for the Macaulay Library. He loves being able to combine his passion for nature with technology!

Vanessa Powell

Administrative Assistant, Macaulay Library

As Administrative Assistant to Macaulay Library and other programs, Vanessa supports the teams with day-to-day business assuring that they have the tools to create, preserve, and educate.

Ken Rosenberg

Applied Conservation Scientist

Ken works at the interface between research, conservation planning, and environmental policy, in a joint position at the Cornell Lab and American Bird Conservancy. His primary role is to synthesize and interpret research on the status and distribution of bird populations, and to engage with wildlife managers and policy-makers to ensure that conservation decisions are based on the best available science.

Amanda Rodewald

Director, Center for Avian Population Studies

As an ecologist and conservation biologist, Amanda seeks to identify and understand the needs and threats facing ecosystems and species globally, the actions needed to ensure conservation, and the ways to work with people to achieve them. Because her work is motivated by a deep commitment to both move science into action and build capacity in others, Amanda collaborates with diverse scientists, decision-makers, practitioners, and partners in public and private sectors to develop approaches that support people, biodiversity, and the environment.

Paul Rodewald

Senior Managing Editor, Birds of the World

Paul’s research has emphasized stopover ecology, habitat selection, biogeography, and factors that influence abundance and distributional change in birds. Before the Lab of Ornithology, he was an associate professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University (2001–2013), where among various projects he was director/lead author on the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Ohio. He has worked as Science Editor of Birds of North America since 2015 and is excited about the transition to Birds of the World and the opportunity to continue to share his expertise and passion for birds and digital natural history.

Orin Robinson

Research Associate

Orin analyzes eBird and other data to study the distribution and demographics of species of conservation concern. In addition to studying bird population dynamics, he has worked on reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. Orin’s current research focuses on the Tricolored Blackbird, a species restricted almost entirely to California, with a small percentage (~1–5%) breeding in Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. Their populations have declined precipitously over the last 80 years. His goal is to understand their habitat associations, movement, and demographic rates throughout the annual cycle.

Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez

Quantitative Ecologist

Viviana’s work at the Lab mainly focuses on supporting and developing avian research and conservation projects with partner organizations and communities in Latin America. Her work ranges from developing and applying statistical models to study the impacts of environmental change on bird populations, to fostering partnerships across the academic, government and private sectors to support capacity building initiatives and community-based monitoring programs in Latin America.

Matt Schloss

Web Designer

schlossphotoMatt is a web designer and developer working with the Macaulay Library team. He relishes the opportunity to create interactive websites that feature beautiful images of birds, videos of amazing behavior, and audio recordings of the great diversity of bird songs. He brings experience as a musician, artist, and technical problem solver to the powerful tools at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Before making websites, Schloss was a NYC based sound designer and composer, working with renowned experimental theater artists. Living in vibrant Ithaca, he enjoys bicycling, visiting parks and nature preserves, playing piano, and gardening.

Tom Schulenberg

Research Associate

Schulenberg and Plenge Lima 28 November 2012Tom is the content editor for Neotropical Birds (and is always on the lookout for contributors who have information to add to the NB species pages). He also works with Marshall Iliff to maintain the eBird/Clements Checklist, which is the global taxonomic backbone to eBird. Despite several decades of effort, Tom has yet to see every bird in Peru, but he continues the quest whenever he can. For that matter, he appreciates travel opportunities in general, especially in pursuit of birds, whenever they present themselves. Otherwise Tom’s favorite birding is leaving home on foot to head into his local patch in Ithaca, and in trying to keep his yard list competitive with the likes of Jessie Barry, Steve Kelling, and Chris Wood.

Dan Serpiello

Software Engineer

DSC_1913Dan is a case study in the success of the Lab’s programs: he was introduced to birding through Merlin and Project FeederWatch (and his wife’s interest in birds). He is now also an active user of eBird, though still a casual birder. The Northern Saw-Whet Owls in his yard are the envy of the rest of the eBird team. He brings many years of software engineering and consulting experience to the Lab — most recently from the power and utility industry, where he led enterprise software projects for large corporate clients. Dan helped design and build the new eBird Android application from the ground up. He is excited to now be working on the next generation of the Merlin iOS app, one of the things that got him into birding.

Jeremy Smith

Applications Programmer, Macaulay Library

One of the greatest things about the Lab is the broad community of people who want to share their images and recordings to help us create a world-class scientific archive. Jeremy works on the databases and back-end systems that archive these data and make it accessible to the community.

Andrew Spencer

Digital Media Coordinator

Andrew works on photo and audio content development for various lab apps and pages.

Matt Strimas-Mackey

Data Scientist

Matt works on the eBird Status and Trends team where he helps use data contributed to eBird to understand spatial and temporal patterns of bird distribution and abundance. In addition, he develops tools, data products, and training materials to allow others to easily access and effectively use eBird data for scientific and conservation applications. When not at work, Matt is happiest backpacking in the mountains or on exploratory road trips looking for birds and regional food.

Brian Sullivan

Digital Publications Lead

Sullivan_photo_editBrian has conducted fieldwork on birds throughout North America for the past 25 years. Birding travels, photography, and field projects have taken him to Central and South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Arctic, and across North America. He is a co-author of several books including: Better Birding—Tips, Tools, and Concepts for the Field; Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast; Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: East Coast; The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors; and the forthcoming Princeton Guide to North American Birds. Brian is renowned for lifting weights when on conference calls, and for his undying love for all things raptor.

Benjamin Van Doren

Postdoctoral Fellow

Benjamin studies avian migration, focusing on understanding the drivers of change and flexibility in migratory behavior. His work straddles ecology, evolution, behavior and conservation, and I believe in taking diverse perspectives—from individuals to flyways, tracking to remote sensing, acoustics to genomics Since 2012, Benjamin has worked with the BirdCast project to study and predict large-scale migratory movements, including research on the effects of light pollution on migrating birds and a tool to forecast nocturnal migratory movements across the United States. In today’s era of “big data” ecology, he is eager to advance understanding and appreciation of one of the world’s most captivating natural phenomena.

Grant Van Horn

Research Engineer

Grant uses data in the Macaulay Library to prototype machine learning applications that can be utilized and deployed throughout the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. His research focuses on the detection and identification of wildlife in images, audio, and video. His passion lies at the intersection of human-machine collaboration, where the collective strengths of humans and machines can be used to answer questions from data.

Julia Wang

BirdCast Project Leader

Julia designs and runs “Lights Out” campaigns that are informed by current migration forecasts, with the aim to encourage all levels of society—from the individual to government—to adopt this conservation practice. Her goal is to translate the Lab’s research into on-the-ground action that saves the lives of birds!

Drew Weber

Merlin Project Coordinator

Drew comes to Merlin from the BirdsEye project, bringing a passion for combining birding and technology in new ways to help people learn about birds, as well as (selfishly) assist him in his passion of county listing. Drew started eBirding in 2004 and has been a regional reviewer and hotspot editor most of that time. In his spare time, Drew doesn’t stray far from birds and technology, tracking Snowy Owl migration and winter ecology with small GPS backpacks and figuring out novel ways to use eBird.

Mike Webster

Macaulay Library Director and Robert G. Engel Professor of Ornithology

As Director, Mike oversees the various archival, collections development, and research/outreach activities of the Macaulay Library. He is also a Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, with research focusing on the behavior and evolution of birds (particularly Australian fairy-wrens and New World warblers). Learn more about his research.

Heather Wolf

Web Developer

Heather has been developing software for over a decade, working on projects as varied as a U.S. Navy portal and her very own iOS apps. But it wasn’t until she started working at Cornell Lab that she was able to combine her love of birds with her technical skills. Heather started birding on Florida’s Gulf Coast and has been an avid eBirder ever since. She is the author of Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront — her photographic journey to document every bird in her Brooklyn, NY patch. In her spare time, Heather enjoys sharing birding through her walks and classes.

Chris Wood

Assistant Director of Information Science and eBird Lead

At age seven, after two years of carefully, if unsuccessfully, searching his 6 by 4 foot sandbox for dinosaur fossils, Chris put up a bird feeder in his backyard in Morrison, Colorado. Soon after, a stunning bird appeared on the feeder that he had never seen before. He looked through various bird books and found the bird – an Evening Grosbeak. He was hooked. He decided he wanted to see all the birds in the book. While he has succeeded in seeing the 200 birds in this backyard bird guide, he’s acquired hundreds more books and still trying to see as many of them as he can. These days, he’s almost as interested in finding a new patch bird at Monkey Run as he is in seeing new birds. And he’s never really given up on the dinosaurs, he’s just focused on their closest living relatives.