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.

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.

Lilly Briggs

Postdoctoral Associate, Education and Citizen Science

Lilly has been a Postdoctoral Associate in the Education and Citizen Science Programs since July 2016, a role that builds on her prior position as the International Outreach Coordinator for BirdSleuth K-12. This role emerged from my Masters degree work, which involved adapting and field-testing a Latin American version of BirdSleuth, a youth-oriented environmental education curriculum focused on birds, conservation, and citizen science. She has facilitated workshops throughout eight countries in Latin America, providing formal and nonformal educators with training on how to implement the BirdSleuth-International curriculum as well as on how they can engage their students in citizen science through participation in eBird. Lilly received her PhD in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University in 2016, based on her research in Guatemala about environmental education and sense of place among Q’eqchi’ Maya indigenous communities. These interconnected academic and professional streams have allowed her to enjoy two of her main passions in life – travel and birding in Latin America!

Ian Davies

eBird Project Coordinator

Ian is the person who writes most anything that you see come out of eBird: any posts on the home page, eBird Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, newsletters, etc. He also works to coordinate development projects, working with the technical team to bring new tools to eBird and eBird Mobile. He has been birding since 13, eBirding since 15, and is continually excited to be a part of the eBird and Cornell Lab team. When Ian isn’t writing emails or thinking eBird thoughts, he enjoys birding his yard in Ithaca and planning trips to various obscure places around the world. Next destination: Brazil!

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.

Andrew Dreelin

eBird Project Assistant

Andrew is the eBird Project Assistant for Team eBird, where he loves connecting people with nature and is thrilled to help support the global eBird community. After spending his formative years obsessed with dinosaurs and apex predators, Andrew fell in love with birds, birding, and ornithology during high school. From there, he went on to complete his undergraduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, and since graduating has worked for New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory and NOAA. Andrew’s greatest joys in nature are getting any kind of lifer (not just birds!) and watching visible migration spectacles (especially Morning Flight!). His ultimate birding goal is to see at least one member of every bird family in the world. When not in the field, Andrew loves reading comic books, watching science fiction movies, taking power naps, and brainstorming about how to conserve biological diversity in the Anthropocene.

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.

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.

Lindsay Glasner

Outreach Coordinator, K-12 Education

Lindsay Glasner is the Outreach Coordinator with the Cornell Lab’s K-12 Education program where she leads workshops, manages the ambassador program, designs curricula, and creates online courses. Drawing from her graduate-level training in environmental education, Lindsay inspires teachers and their students to tune in to birds and ask their own scientific questions. Lindsay caught the birding bug while working at the Cornell Lab and is now a full-fledged birder and a passionate spokesperson for citizen science.

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.

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.

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.

Steve Kelling

Senior Director of Information Science & Technology

Steve’s primary focus is to coordinate a team of ornithologists, project managers, statisticians, application developers, and data managers to develop programs, tools, and analyses to gather, understand, and disseminate information on birds and the environments they inhabit. His responsibilities revolve around four broad topics: the management of eBird; the use of novel digital library strategies to create global communities of interested users centered around primary scientific references; the organization of the rich data resources of the bird-monitoring community and integrating these resources within existing bioinformatic infrastructures; and using unique statistical and computer science strategies to analyze the distribution and abundance of wild bird populations.

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.

Brian Maltzan

Software Engineer

maltzanbioBrian has been writing software for Macaulay Library since 2007, and appreciates the structure of Java and the expressiveness of Ruby. Brian has developed applications at the lab using Spring and Rails, and at the lab, has seen a Virginia Rail in the spring (well, really summer…). He also appreciates good (or bad) puns. In his spare time, he researches natural building methods, and has built a straw bale house for his family.  He enjoys camping and hiking trips in the summer to the Adirondacks, which he has been doing for almost 30 years.

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.

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.

Brian Sullivan

eBird Project Leader

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.

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.

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.

Matthew Young

Macaulay Library Collections Management Leader

For more than 10 years, Matt has worked in various roles at the Lab, with such roles including the sound editing of the Lab’s Master Set of North America Bird Sounds, and the authoring of the eBird article on North American Red Crossbill call types, but his current main focus is on the delivery and licensing of Macaulay Library media assets. Matt became hooked on birds, particularly finches (and warblers too), while working as an Americorps team member in the Cascades of Washington in the mid 1990s. When he’s not working, he’s either tracking down crossbills, looking for some rare native orchid species in some bog or swamp in upstate NY, or trying to protect habitat for the various land trust boards he sits on.