For the Birds: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

A few weeks ago our family got to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.

It’s a fun place to go to if you ever get a chance, especially if you are a bird lover or you enjoy nature.

That’s the main building across the water.

There are trails through the woods.

The trails can be wet in the spring, but they are well-maintained.

Of course, there are plenty of birds to observe. At the main building, the staff provides bird feeders so you can watch birds at any time of day.

Surprisingly, although they are known mostly for studying birds, the scientists at the lab also study a variety of other animals. Because they have pioneered sound recording of animals and now filming animal behavior, you will also find information about animals as diverse as frogs and whales. This promotional video gives you an idea of the variety of topics studied.

Although the video is quite loud and dynamic, we actually found our visit to be quiet and soothing.

Our final stop was to the gift shop. They carry a number of great nature books, including the exciting new children’s books about birds listed below. You might want pick up some of these books and read them to help get prepared for the trip. 🙂

Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why

by Lita Judge

Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Flash Point (March 13, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1596436468
ISBN-13: 978-159643646

Birds of a Feather

by Bernadette Gervais and Francesco Pittau

Hardcover: 18 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books; Pop edition (September 26, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1452110662
ISBN-13: 978-1452110660

For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Laura Jacques

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1590787641
ISBN-13: 978-1590787649

Puffling Patrol

by Ted Lewin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (March 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1600604242
ISBN-13: 978-1600604249

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

by Phillip Hoose (Author)

Reading level: Ages 10 and up
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (July 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0374304688
ISBN-13: 978-0374304683

My review

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story by Stephanie Spinner

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 9, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0375868461
ISBN-13: 978-0375868467

Bring On the Birds by Susan Stockdale

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1561455601
ISBN-13: 978-1561455607

See what Susan Stockdale has to say about her book at STEM Friday.

Even if you can’t go in person, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a number of education and citizen scientist projects you can participate in no matter where you live. The Lab partners with other institutions for the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is a very child-friendly event. The next count is going to be Feb. 15-18, 2013, so be sure to put it on your calendar. (A previous post about the Great Backyard Bird Count with related activities).

Have you ever visited the Lab of Ornithology? If you go, we’d love to hear about your trip.

Edit: Archimedes Notebook has a wonderful interview with young Olivia Bouler, who wrote and illustrated Olivia’s Birds, about her book and her recent visit to the Lab of Ornithology.


  1. amanda

    Hi Roberta! nice post about the Lab:) I love it up there. And nice blog too:) Love all the science!

  2. Roberta

    Thanks, Amanda. I’ll be stopping by your blog, too.

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