The Cornell Lab Young Birders Event 2023

By Team eBird March 1, 2023
Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is excited to host The Cornell Lab Young Birders Event. This year’s event will be held June 29-July 2 in Ithaca, New York. The Young Birders Event aims to bring together teenagers with a passion for birds and an interest in pursuing a career that connects with birds. You’ll meet people who have successful careers that involve birds in a variety of ways from ornithological researchers and tour leaders, to audio specialists and computer scientists.

All high school-aged birders are invited to apply (students entering grades 9-12 in the fall). Please fill out our application form and send it to us by March 31st 2023. We are able to accommodate sixteen young birders each year, and we will notify applicants about their status in early April. Slight preference is given to students entering 12th grade and students who have previously applied.

The Young Birders Event will feature:

  • two days of field trips
  • presentations by Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff including professors, researchers,
    and students who will share various ways to incorporate birds into a career
  • eBird and sound recording workshop
  • tour of Cornell Lab including the Macaulay Library and Museum of Vertebrates
  • dinner with Cornell Lab staff

Application Deadline: March 31st 2022

Tuition: $600   Includes lodging, food, and transportation to birding sites during the weekend. Travel expenses to and from Ithaca are not covered in the tuition.

If you need financial aid to attend the event, please contact us. We will gladly help coordinate with your local bird club and others to help find a scholarship or other funding opportunities. We can also provide binoculars to those who need them.


Meet Alli Smith and Ian Davies, the primary leaders for the event:

Alli Smith is a Project Coordinator for the Merlin Bird ID app. She grew up in New Jersey, where she fell in love with birds on a middle school field trip to see the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds of the Delaware Bay. Alli attended the Young Birders Event herself in 2011 and knows firsthand how impactful it can be, and is thrilled to be supporting new birders through this event and through her work with Merlin.

Ian Davies is a Project Leader for eBird. He got into birds at age 12 in Massachusetts, and since then has been fortunate to travel the world appreciating all things feathered. He’s been involved with running the Young Birders Event for the past 8 years, and is continually excited to share a passion for birds and conservation with the next generation of leaders.

The Cornell Lab is a welcoming community that values and respects teenagers from all backgrounds and identities. Through this event, we strive to foster a birding community where everyone feels they belong.

For additional information please contact

The Young Birders Event is sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sport Optics, Princeton University Press and Wild Birds Unlimited. Scholarship support provided by the Lucy D. Preston Young Birders Fund.