The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a member-supported unit of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York which studies birds and other wildlife. It is housed in the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary. Approximately 250 scientists, professors, staff, and students work in a variety of programs devoted to the Lab's mission: interpreting and conserving the Earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Work at the Lab is supported primarily by its 75,000 members. The Cornell Lab publishes books under the Cornell Lab Publishing Group, a quarterly publication, Living Bird magazine, and a monthly electronic newsletter. It manages numerous citizen-science projects and websites, including the Webby Award-winning All About Birds.
|Cornell Lab of Ornithology|
|Type||Research and conservation institute|
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology was founded by Arthur A. "Doc" Allen who lobbied for creation of the country's first graduate program in ornithology, established at Cornell University in 1915. Initially, the Lab of Ornithology was housed in the university's entomology and limnology department.
Birder/businessman Lyman Stuart, donors, and landowners purchased or donated farmland in 1954 which was set aside for the sanctuary. Stuart helped finance the construction of the first Lab building in 1957. Lab founder Arthur Allen, with colleagues Louis Agassiz Fuertes, James Gutsell, and Francis Harper, had dubbed the area Sapsucker Woods after discovering the first breeding yellow-bellied sapsucker ever reported in the Cayuga Lake Basin. This woodpecker is now common in the area and is part of the Cornell Lab's logo.
Today the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is housed in the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity which opened in summer 2003.
The 226-acre (0.91 km2) Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary contains more than four miles (6 km) of trails taking visitors around Sapsucker Pond, on boardwalks, through wetlands and forest. More than 230 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary. Approximately 55,000 people visit the sanctuary and public areas of the Cornell Lab each year. The Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Visitors' Center observatory features a 30-foot (9.1 m) wall of windows, seating, a fireplace, and spotting scopes. The Bartels Theater shows high-definition movies about birds and nature. A sound studio and kiosks educate visitors about bird and animal sounds. Two huge murals can also be found on observatory walls. One, by artists James Prosek, features numbered silhouettes of birds in their native habitats which visitors may try to identify. The other mural, by artist Jane Kim of Ink Dwell studio, follows the evolution of birds over millions of years from dinosaurs to the existing bird families of the world today. Some extinct species are also represented. Also in the observatory, visitors will find the "Sound Ring" by Maya Lin which plays soundscapes from a variety habitats around the world. The Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods gift shop is also located in the observatory. Other attractions include a multimedia program, wildlife artwork, a reconstructed study with murals by renowned painter Louis Agassiz Fuertes, a smaller second-floor observatory, and the Adelson Library which contains historical and contemporary ornithological materials, including an extensive collection of monographs and journals.
The Lab is an administrative unit within Cornell University. It has a separate 30-member Administrative Board that is appointed by the Cornell Board of Trustees. As of fiscal year 2010, the Lab has an annual budget of $20.5 million and income of $21.9 million. It has 18 senior staff, which includes eight holding Cornell faculty appointments.
Collecting the observations of everyday birders for scientific use is a hallmark of the Lab. Bird watchers of all ages and skill levels help gather the data needed to capture the big picture about the distribution and abundance of birds. Nearly 500,000 people participate in the Lab's projects. The eBird database allows birders to track any of the earth’s 10,585 bird species to a single scientific database. So far, 33.5 million checklists have been recorded, including observations of 10,418 species.
The observations of citizen scientists have helped document the declines of some species, the range expansions of others, and the spread of avian diseases. The observations of birders help the Cornell Lab study birds in cities, suburbs, and forests and help answer questions about how proximity to humans, pollution, climate change, and loss of habitat affect different species.
The Cornell Lab's citizen-science projects take place in all seasons and include Project FeederWatch, NestWatch, Celebrate Urban Birds, Birds in Forested Landscapes, CamClickr, and two projects in partnership with the National Audubon Society: eBird and the Great (Global) Backyard Bird Count. The Cornell Lab operates many NestCams which capture live video of nesting birds in the spring.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has multiple ways for people to learn more about birds. More structured avenues include the self-paced, college-level course called "Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology", which can be found on the Lab's education website, Bird Academy. The textbook for the course is the third edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology released in September 2016. The BirdSleuth curriculum is designed to help elementary and middle-school students discover science through bird projects. A five-week online course "Investigating Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry in Birds" is now available through eCornell.
The Cornell Lab publishes the free Merlin Bird ID app for iOS and Android devices. This field guide and identification app guides users put a name to the birds they see, and covers 3,000 species of across the Americas, Western Europe, and India. In addition to browsing customized lists of birds for any location in the world, users can answer simple questions to get a list of most likely species, along with images and sound. In 2017, Merlin Bird ID was updated to include AI-powered automatic photo recognition, which allows quick identification help with photographs.
The Explore Species feature in eBird is an online guide that unites the strengths of eBird, the Macaulay Library, and Merlin Bird ID all in one place, for all 10,500+ species of birds. Enter a location or region to see birds found at that place, then click on the bird names to see photographs of the bird and listen to voices of that species.
Birds of North America (BNA) is the most comprehensive reference for the life histories of over 760 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada. Species accounts are written by ornithologists and other experts and are an essential reference for anyone with an advanced interest in birds. BNA accounts have always offered an in-depth, authoritative summary of scientific literature and media. It is offered as a subscription service.
Cornell Lab scientists, students, and visiting scholars are carrying on much original research in behavioral ecology, conservation, education, evolutionary biology, information systems, and population genetics. Cornell Lab engineers also develop hardware and software tools used in researching bird and animal communication and patterns of movement.
In addition to many studies and published papers, the Cornell Lab's Conservation Science Department has produced land managers' guides aimed at conserving dwindling populations of scarlet tanagers, wood thrushes, and other forest birds. The Lab worked with Partners in Flight to identify rapidly declining species and produce the first North American Landbird Conservation Plan. Lab staff also worked with multiple partners to create the first-ever State of the Birds report in March 2009.
The Lab's Neotropical Bird Conservation Program is gathering baseline data about bird populations in Mexico, where many North American birds spend their winters, and helping colleagues in other countries with conservation training and resources.
Lab scientists are currently involved with partners from industry, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations in setting research priorities to better understand the impact of wind power facilities on birds and bats.
The Lab's Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) creates remote recording devices used by researchers in projects around the world. These autonomous recording units (ARUs) consist of a hard drive, housing, and microphone array that can be mounted in a forest or anchored to the ocean floor. ARUs have been used in the Elephant Listening Project in Africa, studies of whales, and in the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker.
BRP has also developed sound-analysis software programs called Raven and Raven Lite. Engineers are working on programmable radio tags to track birds and other animals for longer periods of time and to follow bird migrations.
From its earliest days, the Cornell Lab has had a special interest in bird and animal sounds. Founder Arthur Allen and his students were pioneers in the field, recording the first bird songs on a film sound track.
The world's largest collection of natural sounds is held in the climate-controlled archives of the Lab's Macaulay Library. There are more than 525,000 recordings of birds, bats, whales, insects, frogs, elephants, and other animals. Macaulay Library recordists continue to mount expeditions to collect wildlife sounds and images from around the world to expand the archive.
These sounds are used by researchers around the world. They have also been used in everything from museum exhibits and Hollywood movies to singing alarm clocks and handheld PDAs that help users identify birds in the field. These sounds are used in the Cornell Lab's extensive list of audio guides. The Macaulay Library also contains a growing collection of high-definition video. Anyone can listen to recordings and watch videos in the archive.
Each year the experts from Macaulay Library hold the week-long Sound Recording Workshop. Participants learn how to effectively handle a portable field recording system to make scientifically accurate recordings.
The Information Science unit creates the underlying structure that makes the Cornell Lab's citizen-science projects work. It also converts massive amounts of data into charts, maps, and tables. Computer programmers at the Lab built the infrastructure for the Birds of North America Online and are now coordinating the Avian Knowledge Network, an unprecedented effort to link bird data records kept at institutions all over the Western Hemisphere. As of October 2009, the AKN contained more than 66.5 million records, accessible to anyone.
The Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates is also housed in the Johnson Center and holds 1,230,000 specimens of fish, 44,300 amphibians & reptiles, 45,000 birds, 3,200 eggs, and 15,000 mammals some now extinct. Students and scientists use the collections in their studies.
Bird Watcher's Digest is an American bimonthly birding magazine that was founded in 1978 by William and Elsa Thompson. Bird Watcher's Digest was the first consumer bird watching magazine, and is the only family-owned and operated bird watching magazine. Bird Watcher’s Digest occasionally partners with and supports Wild Birds Unlimited and Wild Bird Centers as well as bird-oriented organizations including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, and other nature and birding festivals.Birds of North America
Birds of North America is a comprehensive encyclopedia of bird species in the United States and Canada, with substantial articles about each species. It was first published as a series of 716 printed booklets, prepared by 863 authors, and made available as the booklets were completed from 1992 through 2003. The project was overseen by the American Ornithologists' Union in partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
In 2004, an online version of the encyclopedia, including audio and video resources, was produced and released by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Access is by personal or institutional subscription.Calcariidae
Calcariidae is a small family of passerine birds. It includes longspurs and snow buntings. There are six species in three genera worldwide, found mainly in North America and Eurasia. They are migratory and can live in a variety of habitats including grasslands, prairies, tundra, mountains, and beaches.EBird
eBird is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. Originally restricted to sightings from the Western Hemisphere, the project expanded to include New Zealand in 2008, and again expanded to cover the whole world in June 2010. eBird has been described as an ambitious example of enlisting amateurs to gather data on biodiversity for use in science.eBird is an example of crowdsourcing, and has been hailed as an example of democratizing science, treating citizens as scientists, allowing the public to access and use their own data and the collective data generated by others.Evening grosbeak
The evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) is a passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae found in North America.Frank Gill (ornithologist)
Frank Bennington Gill (October 2, 1941 in New York City) is an American ornithologist with worldwide research interests and birding experience. He is perhaps best known as the author of the textbook Ornithology (4rd edition, 2019), the leading textbook in the field.
Gill was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey. He reported that he became interested in birds at the age of seven, when his grandfather, Frank Rockingham Downing, showed him a song sparrow at a birdbath. This was the first time he had seen a bird through binoculars, "and I was hooked."After Gill received his PhD in zoology from the University of Michigan in 1969 (where he had also completed his undergraduate degree), he joined the ornithology department at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. From 1969-1995, Gill was a full-time staff member of the academy, where he held various positions throughout his tenure, including that of chairman for the Department of Ornithology and vice president for systematics and evolutionary biology. During his time at the academy, Gill was instrumental in reestablishing the academy's position as one of the leading centers of American ornithological research. This was manifested through Gill's work as the founding director of the VIREO program (Visual Resources for Ornithology) and his work as the editor of the encyclopedic series Birds of North America, Life Histories for the 21st Century. In 1988 he was awarded the Linnaean Society of New York's Eisenmann Medal. Since 1996, Gill has been affiliated with the academy as a research fellow.
More recently, Gill was the president of the American Ornithologists' Union from 1998-2000. Besides his acclaimed textbook, Gill’s published works include over 150 scientific and popular articles. His worldwide research programs included field studies of island birds, hybridization by blue-winged and golden-winged warblers, flower-feeding strategies of sunbirds of Africa and of hermit hummingbirds of Middle America, and phylogeny through DNA of the chickadees of the world. For his contributions to ornithology, Gill was recognized with the William Brewster Award, the highest honor bestowed by the AOU. Additionally, Gill is an elected member of the International Ornithological Congress, as well as the co-author, with Minturn Wright, of Birds of the World: Recommended English Names (2006). Since 1994 he has led the international effort to use a consistent set of unique English names and authoritative species taxonomy of the birds of the world.Gill’s contributions include innovative program leadership combined with a personal commitment to engaging the public in ornithology through citizen science. He pioneered “cyberbirding”—the use of the internet for nationwide citizen science initiatives—including the conversion of classic Christmas Bird Count to modern technology. Frank and his colleagues at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology also were awarded US Patent No. 6,772,142 for their internet software application to translate online georeference data to an interactive database. With such tools, he and his colleagues created the Great Backyard Bird Count and then the eBird initiative of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
In 1996, Gill became senior vice president and director of science for the National Audubon Society, a position from which he retired in 2004. At Audubon, he championed the nationwide Important Bird Areas initiative in partnership with BirdLife International. In 2007, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Society and served as interim president and CEO (2010). He has been quoted in a number of news reports concerning birds.Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a citizen science project in ornithology. It is conducted annually in mid February. The event is supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. During this four-day event birdwatchers all around the world are invited to count and report details of birds in the area in which they live. Data is submitted online via a web interface, and compiled for use in scientific research. The GBBC was the first citizen science project to collect bird sightings online and display results in near real-time.Hooded warbler
The hooded warbler (Setophaga citrina) is a New World warbler. It breeds in eastern North America and across the eastern United States and into southernmost Canada (Ontario). It is migratory, wintering in Central America and the West Indies. Hooded warblers are very rare vagrants to western Europe.
Recent genetic research has suggested that the type species of Wilsonia (hooded warbler W. citrina) and of Setophaga (American redstart S. ruticilla) are closely related and should be merged into the same genus. As the name Setophaga (published in 1827) takes priority over Wilsonia (published in 1838), hooded warbler would then be transferred as Setophaga citrina. This change has been accepted by the North American Classification Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union, and the IOC World Bird List. The South American Classification Committee continues to list the bird in the genus Wilsonia.Ithaca Discovery Trail
The Ithaca Discovery Trail is a collaboration among hands-on museums and the public library in Tompkins County, New York. Its member institutions are: Cayuga Nature Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Plantations, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Museum of the Earth, Sciencenter, The History Center of Tompkins County, and Tompkins County Public Library.Ivory-billed woodpecker
The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is one of the largest woodpeckers in the world, at roughly 20 inches (51 cm) long and 30 inches (76 cm) in wingspan. It is native to types of virgin forest ecosystems found in the southeastern United States and Cuba. Habitat destruction and, to a lesser extent, hunting has reduced populations so thoroughly that the species is very probably extinct, though sporadic reports of sightings have continued into the 21st century. The ivory-billed woodpecker, dubbed the "holy grail bird", is the subject of many rediscovery efforts and much speculation.
The species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The American Birding Association lists the ivory-billed woodpecker as a class 6 species, a category it defines as "definitely or probably extinct".Reports of at least one male ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas in 2004 were investigated and subsequently published in April 2005 by a team led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. No definitive confirmation of those reports emerged, despite intensive searching over five years following the initial sightings.
An anonymous $10,000 reward was offered in June 2006 for information leading to the discovery of an ivory-billed woodpecker nest, roost, or feeding site. In December 2008, the Nature Conservancy announced a reward of $50,000 to the person who can lead a project biologist to a living ivory-billed woodpecker.
In late September 2006, a team of ornithologists from Auburn University and the University of Windsor published reports of their own sightings of ivory-billed woodpeckers along the Choctawhatchee River in northwest Florida, beginning in 2005. These reports were accompanied by evidence that the authors themselves considered suggestive for the existence of ivory-billed woodpeckers. Searches in this area of Florida through 2009 failed to produce definitive confirmation.
In January 2017, a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory published a report of 10 sightings of ivory-billed woodpeckers, including nine in the Pearl River along the Louisiana-Mississippi border and one in the Choctawhatchee River. Three of the claimed sightings are shown in video footage of birds with flights, behaviors, field marks, and other characteristics that the author claims are not consistent with any species of the region other than the ivory-billed woodpecker. Nobody has managed to obtain indisputable photographic evidence for the persistence of the ivory-billed woodpecker, but the paper contains an analysis based on factors related to behavior and habitat suggesting that such evidence is unlikely to be obtained in time to make a difference in the conservation of this species. The identification has been received with skepticism.Despite published reports from Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana, and sporadic reports elsewhere in the historic range of the species since the 1940s, no universally accepted evidence exists for the continued existence of the ivory-billed woodpecker; that is, no undisputed photographs, videos, specimens or DNA samples from feathers or feces of the ivory-billed woodpecker are available. Land acquisition and habitat restoration efforts have been initiated in certain areas where a relatively high probability exists that the species might survive to protect any possible surviving individuals.John W. Fitzpatrick
John Weaver Fitzpatrick (17 September 1951 in Saint Paul, Minnesota) is an American ornithologist primarily known for his research work on the South American avifauna and for the conservation of the Florida scrub jay. He is currently the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.Living Bird
Living Bird is a quarterly magazine published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The editor, Tim Gallagher describes the purpose of the magazine as "bridging the divide between the scientist and the bird enthusiast".Printed editions of Living Bird are distributed to members of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The photographs and artwork on the front and back covers as well as accompanying articles have been described as "stunning" and "beautiful". The magazine includes editorials and in-depth journalism on birds and bird conservation. Since 2008, the magazine is also available on-line.
From 1962 through 1981, the magazine was published annually (with volume 19 being a multi-year edition covering 1980 and 1981).Since 1982, Living Bird is published quarterly.The magazine contains articles on birds, birding, science, conservation, people, art, photography, travel, and reviews of birding gear and books.Macaulay Library
The Macaulay Library is the world's premier scientific archive of natural history audio, video, and photographs. Although the Macaulay Library’s history is rooted in birds, the collection includes amphibians, fishes, and mammals, and the collection preserves recordings of each species’ behavior and natural history. The Macaulay Library archive includes more than 525,000 audio recordings covering 80 percent of the world's bird species, and over 10 million photographs covering over 90 percent of the worlds bird species. There are an ever-increasing numbers of insect, fish, frog, and mammal recordings.
The video archive includes over 63,000 clips, representing over 3,500 species. The Library is part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology of the Cornell University.
Macaulay Library provides public access through its search page to over 10 million assets, and the public can archive their own sound recordings and photographs of birds through eBird.Neotropical Birds Online
Neotropical Birds Online is an online encyclopedia whose subject is the bird species that breed in the Neotropics.
Neotropical Birds Online is patterned after Birds of North America. Each account profiles a single species, and the accounts are published in the order in which they are completed. The project is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University, a leading US research center in ornithology. The list of species covered by Neotropical Birds Online is based on the two avian checklist committees of the American Ornithologists' Union: the North American Classification Committee (NACC), which is responsible for the taxonomy and nomenclature of bird species found in North and Central America, including the Caribbean; and the South American Classification Committee, which covers the birds of South America and of related islands.
Each species account has a consistent format. The content of each account provides comprehensive information for each species. The topics that are covered include identification, distribution and habitat, foraging and reproductive behavior, the conservation status of the species, and the author's suggestions for the highest priorities for future research on that species. Also provided are a map of the distribution of the species and, when available, photographs of the species, its habitat, and of the nest and eggs. Also provided, when available, are recordings of the species' song and calls, selected from the collection in the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and from other online sources, such as xeno-canto.Roseate spoonbill
The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) - sometimes placed in its own genus Ajaia - is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and from central Florida's Atlantic coast at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center at least as far north as South Carolina's Huntington Beach State Park.The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World
The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World is a book by Jim Clements which presents a list of the bird species of the world.
The most recent printed version is the sixth edition (2007), which was published by Cornell University Press. Previous editions were published by the author's own imprint, Ibis Publishing. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has provided annual updates since then, usually in August, and the most recent version is available online in several formats. These updates reflect the ongoing changes to bird taxonomy based on published research.
Clements is the official list used by the American Birding Association for birds globally. eBird also uses the Clements checklist as the base list for its eBird taxonomy, which in addition to species includes hybrids and other non-species entities reported by birders.White-tipped quetzal
The white-tipped quetzal (Pharomachrus fulgidus) is a species of bird in the family Trogonidae found in Venezuela, Colombia, and Guyana. Two subspecies have been described. Pharomachrus fulgidus fulgidus is found in the mountains of northern Venezuela and Pharomachrus fulgidus festatus ranges through the Santa Marta mountains of northeast Colombia. Quetzals are iridescent and colourful birds found in forests, woodlands and humid highlands. The white-tipped quetzal has been a limited subject of research. Pharomachrus nests have been studied to analyse the effects of rainfall on breeding, however conclusions are based on single observations. On the IUCN Red list of threatened species, the white-tipped quetzal is listed as a species of Least concern.White-winged dove
The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a dove whose native range extends from the south-western United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. In recent years with increasing urbanization and backyard feeding, it has expanded throughout Texas, into Oklahoma, Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. It has also been introduced to Florida.
The white-winged dove is expanding outside its historic range into Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and northern New Mexico. The dove's range has even expanded drastically northward into Canada. While the dove was introduced to Alberta, it still remains a common spring and summer visitor in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.Wild Birds Unlimited
Wild Birds Unlimited is a retail store that specializes in bird seed, bird feeders, and many other bird feeding supplies. Jim Carpenter opened the first Wild Birds Unlimited store in 1981 in Indianapolis, Indiana. By 1983, Carpenter started franchising his concept. Carpenter is also the author of The Joy of Bird Feeding: The Essential Guide to Attracting and Feeding Our Backyard Birds published in 2017 by Scott & Nix, Inc. Wild Birds Unlimited has grown to over 300 stores across the United States and Canada.The company provides the products and services that help people bring birds into their backyards. The company works directly with well-known organizations such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to preserve wildlife habitat and educate people about wild birds.
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