Ian Owens

Outdoors, woods in the background, wearing blue coat and hold binoculars
House Fellow
Executive Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Ian is the Executive Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a Professor in Ecology and Evolution. He loves birds, cool science and technology, and trying to find ways to inspire people to think about nature.

Brought up in Yorkshire, England, he has lived most of his life in the UK and Australia, has two grown-up children that live in the UK, and has spent a lot of time chasing around the world to see new birds and trying to figure out how the evolve in to all the shapes, sizes and colors they are now.

Before joining Cornell, Ian worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where he got the chance to work on projects like the new Dinosaur exhibit and digitizing the global collection of more than a billion natural history specimens.

He enjoys natural history, hiking and kayaking, impressionist art, English Premiership football (soccer), and indie and soul music. Fantasy dinner guests: Aretha Franklin, Charles Darwin, Ronaldinho, Henri Matisse and Greta Thunberg.

His favorite bird is the Southern Cassowary for obvious reasons.