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

brunoBruno Arantes
Android Developer

Bruno 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.

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 reads and responds to any emails that you send to the eBird Help Center, any posts on the eBird Facebook/Twitter, and authors most of the content that appears on various eBird news outlets. 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, avoiding jaegers who want to steal his hat, dreaming of living in a place next to the ocean, and planning trips to various obscure places around the world. Next destination: Australia!

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.

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.

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
brookebioManaging Editor for Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds

Brooke 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.

long_taylor_ebird_bio_picTaylor Long
User Interface Designer

Taylor 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.

maltzanbioBrian Maltzan
Software Engineer

Brian 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.


Medler Ilha GrandeMatt Medler
Macaulay Library Collections Management Leader

Matt 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.

schlossphotoMatt Schloss
Web Designer

Matt 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.

Schulenberg and Plenge Lima 28 November 2012Tom Schulenberg
Research Associate

Tom 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. 

DSC_1913Dan Serpiello
Software Engineer

Dan 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
Sullivan_photo_editeBird Project Leader

Brian 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.

Matthew Young
mattyoungprofileMacaulay 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.