Funky Nests in Funky Places 2019

Funky Nests in Funky Places 2019 is underway!

Send in your funny, funky nests for this quirky contest.

What prompts birds to build nests where they do? Some of their real estate choices are real head-scratchers. That’s where the Funky Nests in Funky Places contest comes in. If you find a nest built in a quirky, even downright crazy spot, please share! The contest is hosted by the Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Entries can be photos, poems, stories, or artwork. Past participants have found nests strategically placed on statues, in barbecue grills, traffic lights, wind chimes, golf shoes, and–pretty much anywhere.

Submit your entries here:

The entry deadline is June 30.

We have a few categories in which we judge the entries. We look for the funkiest, the cutest, the funniest, and the most inconvenient. Kind-hearted people have given up golfing, riding a bike, or driving a tractor for a while as they wait for baby birds to fledge from an ‘inconvenient’ nest!

Participants don’t have to be bird or photography experts. All ages are welcome to participate as individuals or with a class, community center, or afterschool program. Entries are being accepted from anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be a participant in the citizen-science project either–just sign in as a guest.

One grand prize winner will receive a pair of Celestron binoculars.

Other prizes in each category include window view bird feeders, folding pocket bird guides, Bird Academy online courses, Cornell Lab of Ornithology stickers, Project FeederWatch posters, and much more.

Find more information about how to locate nests, approach them without disturbing the birds, and enter the contest at In Spanish:

2019 Mini-Grant Winners!

We are happy to announce the 2019 Celebrate Urban Birds Mini-Grant winners!

We received a wonderful response to our mini-grant invitation. It’s really exciting to see such creativity and so many varied organizations across all geographical areas thinking about urban birds, conservation, and the arts in their local communities.

It was hard to select just a few of the many fantastic celebrations proposed. We were especially impressed by those that engaged participants of all backgrounds through active and dynamic participation in both the arts and data collection.

To all our applicants, we want to thank you for your work in building conservation awareness in your neighborhood!

This year’s winners are:

  • Asociación Calidris, Colombia
  • Aves de la Laguna, Mexico
  • AveZona, Venezuela
  • Centro Educativo Básico de Bajo Cedro, Panama
  • Colegio San Adrián, Chile
  • Fundación William H. Phelps, Venezuela
  • La Mujer Obrera, Texas
  • Luz Divina, Honduras
  • Programa de Aves Urbanas (PAU) Tapachula, Mexico
  • Reverdece y Educa tu Comunidad, Puerto Rico
  • St. Charles Tutoring Lab, Louisiana
  • Wallingford Senior Center, Washington


Photo courtesy of Green Jay Mayan Birding, past mini-grant winners.

2019 Mini-Grants Available

It is the end of the year and with it comes the opportunity to apply for the 2019 Celebrate Urban Birds Mini-Grants! We can’t wait to see the incredible projects that will be proposed to connect communities with nature, birds, arts, and citizen science!

All mini-grant applicants are offered free Celebrate Urban Birds Kits and training to support their events (even if their proposals are not funded). Organizations working with underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply. No experience with birding is needed. Mini-grants range from $100 to $750.

Here are the requirements for your proposed program, festival, or event:

  • It must take place within 2019
  • The funds can only go to organizations (not to individuals)
  • The Celebrate Urban Birds 10-minute citizen science observation must be included
  • It must incorporate greening or habitat improvement activities
  • The arts should be integrated in a meaningful and authentic manner

We love out-of-the-box ideas! We encourage businesses, hospitals, healthcare organizations, senior centers, and community centers to apply. In the past, we’ve offered mini-grants to an ice-cream shop that gave coupons to customers who collected data and planted bird-friendly flowers; an oncology center that encouraged patients to collect data while they waited for appointments; a courthouse that offered outdoor programming for children waiting for their parents; a theater troupe that connected inner-city youth with nature; a day habilitation program that combined community work, gardening, birdwatching, and the arts; and many youth-led community greening projects.

We will share selected mini-grant projects broadly to inspire others to organize events in their communities.

Our application is simple and straightforward. You don’t need to know anything about writing grant proposals to apply. Simply answer our questions about what you plan to do, where, when, and with whom.

We will be accepting applications through December 31, 2018.

To apply now, click on the following link:

Explore the gallery of wonderful past events on our website!

Birds, Careers and Conservation Workshop Summer 2018


Thanks to the support of Thomas Cade Funds, 23 participants were awarded scholarships to attend a two day intensive workshop, titled Birds, Careers and Conservation.  The program took place on August 7th and 8th, 2018 and was hosted by the Celebrate Urban Birds program at Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The aim of this annual program is to bring youth from underserved communities that are not represented in the sciences to learn more about research here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Outstanding youth from across the United States are selected to attend each year based on their interest in learning about careers in science and conservation with the goal of positively impacting their communities.  During the workshop participants (aged between 14-21 years of age) learn about Cornell, explore the values of participatory science, critical thinking, art, conservation, and paths to higher education.

During the two-day workshop staff from seven departments at the Cornell Lab shared their expertise and time. The students participated in activities such as bird banding, nature journaling, nature walks and specimen illustration.

Scientists at the lab spoke about their fields of research such as participatory approaches to conservation, bioacoustics  and citizen science projects.  They toured and actively used the Macaulay Library and learned about scientific illustration at the Museum of Vertebrates. The participants had many opportunities to have their questions answered and to interact with all equipment and resources available at the lab.

In addition to being immersed in the work being done here, the students and chaperones visited the Cornell campus and participated in sessions where they created action plans for their future.  Our goal was to help these young aspiring leaders to see themselves in the field of science and conservation.

2018 Birds, Careers and Conservation Youth Workshop from Celebrate Urban Birds on Vimeo.

It was clear that the students learned so much from the experience.

“Thank you so much for this wonderful experience. Your lab is truly amazing and it was an honor to be there.  Not only did our knowledge grow but so did our respect for birds.” – Participant

“Thank you so much for the the amazing opportunity.  It was such a pleasure to even be invited to Cornell.  We all had such a great time and learned so much!  I didn’t know birds could be so interesting.  Thanks again!” – Participant

“ has been such a fantastic opportunity to meet all of the incredible and smart individuals at the Lab….” – Participant

Celebrate Urban Birds workshops would not be possible without the help of staff from every department of the Cornell Lab and we are enormously thankful to all participants, chaperones, and presenters.

We are looking forward to our next Birds, Careers and Conservation Workshop in November 2018!

(Photo © MLF Photography)




List of Resources in Spanish!

Free Downloads of Resources in Spanish

Have you ever wondered where you could find educational material about birds and citizen science in Spanish?  Do you need materials that people of all ages and areas can easily understand? We have compiled a list of links to free resources with descriptions of what each link offers. We hope this is useful for you and your participants.

1) Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds is a citizen science project founded in 2007. Anyone from any country can participate in Celebrate Urban Birds. You can participate at any time of the year and you do not need to know about birds. The goal of this project is to integrate people of all ages and regions in bird citizen science and to create awareness about birds, habitat and conservation. We are actively creating materials from different countries and regions. All materials are available for free download. Below you will find our materials for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Peruvian Amazon region.

a) United States and Canada:

i. A beautifully illustrated bird guide showing 16 focal bird species. Also included are magnificent illustrations some common Hummingbirds of North America. To view the guide, click here!

ii. A sheet describing the celebrate Urban Birds citizen science project. This includes a form you can use to enter your bird observations and a poster of the silhouettes of the 16 focal bird species. Click here!

iii. A list of the 16 species with beautiful pictures and space to note the number of times the bird was seen. Available in Spanish and English. Click here!

b) Mexico:

i. A bird guide with 16 focal bird species. The guide includes beautiful pictures of the birds, distribution maps, and interesting facts about their behavior and habitat. Click here!

ii. A sheet to record observations of the birds. This sheet also includes close-up photos of the birds with the silhouettes of the 16 focal species and a brief description of the Celebrate Urban Birds in Mexico project! Click here!

c) Peruvian Amazon Region:
(Photo © CUBS)

Download the materials used in the Celebrate Birds kit for the Peruvian Amazon Region (Currículo de Educación Ambiental para La Amazonia Peruana)! The kit includes tips on how to observe the 16 focal species in the Peruvian Amazon Region as well as a table to jot down your bird observations. There is also a helpful poster that contain silhouettes of the 16 focal species and tips on where to observe them. The Environmental Education Activity Guide for the Peruvian Amazon Region, contains interesting activities you can use if you’re from the region. If you are not located in the region, the Activity Guide is adaptable to different regions and educational interests. It also has information and activities about nesting as well as an entire section about citizen science so that you and your participants can begin your own project!

i. To download the bird observation table with tips on how to observe the 16 focal species, and the bird silhouettes poster, click here!

ii. To download the 16 focal species guide with information about the focal species of this project, map distributions, and cool facts about their behavior and ecology, click here!

(Photo © CUBS)
iii.  The Environmental Education Activity Guide for the Peruvian Amazon Region: This activity guide is for informal or formal educators who are passionate in motivating, teaching and inspiring their participants to get involved in environmental conservation. The activity guide is designed with simple lesson plans that contain fun activities about the focal bird species in the Peruvian Amazon region. Through the monthly lesson plans, we hope students become interested in conserving their local birds and participating in citizen science through bird observation. This activity guide pairs well with the Peru kit. To download this guide click here!

To know more about the nests of the 16 focal species click here!

2) Bird Sleuth International Educational Curricula and Supporting Materials for Educators 

BirdSleuth International and World of Birds Curricula

BirdSleuth International is an environmental education curriculum to expand the information children receive about science and the environment. This is accomplished through learning about birds. The curriculum includes 10 lessons with fun and educational activities for children. Both the curriculum and supporting materials can be downloaded. The summary of the curriculum World of Birds does not need any additional materials and is also available to download. To download any of the materials you first need to complete a quick form. Click here to go to the form which will redirect you to the materials once you finish.

3) Manuals

Guide to Birds in Mexico City and its Surroundings

If you find yourself in Mexico City or its surroundings and need an easy-to-carry guide of the most common birds in Mexico City, this is the guide for you! It is very easy to use, has beautiful images, essential information, and interesting facts about Mexican birds. This guide was sponsored by CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad or The National Commision for the Awareness and use of Biodiversity). You can download the free guide by clicking here.

4) How to use eBird in Chile Guide
(Photo © ROC)

Download this practical guide on how to use eBird in Chile created by the leaders of the Red Observadores de Aves de Chile (ROC). You will find detailed explanations of eBird, how to use, how to enter your bird observations, and so much more! Although this guide was written users of eBird Chile it is useful for any person who wishes to learn more about eBird. Just make sure to enter the portal that corresponds to your geographic location. Download the eBird in Chile guide here!

5) Bird in Mexico: List of Bird Species and their Common Names 2015

Explore the most recent list of Mexican bird species and their common names. You can download the full publication here.

6) Free Book Download: Hummingbirds in Mexico and North America 
(Photo © Colíbres de México y Norteamérica)

Download this amazing bilingual book about Hummingbirds in Mexico and North America written by María del Coro Arizmendí and Humberto Berlanga. This book is excellent for people who want to learn more about hummingbirds. The book discusses hummingbird anatomy, diet, reproduction, migration, ecological relevance, and so much more! This book was sponsored by CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad or National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity) and the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México or National Autonomous University of Mexico) in Mexico. Download this complete book for free by clicking here! It can be slow to fully appear online, so please be patient!