How to Request Media from the Macaulay Library

The traditional Macaulay Library archive contains over 250,000 digital audio and video recordings of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, and insects from around the world. We have recently expanded our collection to include photos and sounds uploaded via eBird. At this time, we are only able to accommodate requests for material from the traditional archive. The tools for requesting material uploaded to eBird have not been developed yet. Users may request access to download media from the traditional archive for research, educational, and personal uses. For commercial uses, we are happy to work with you to license recordings. All mobile applications and some educational purposes are considered commercial uses.

Our goal is to make the sounds and videos in the archive readily accessible. Thank you for your patience as we work towards improving our media delivery system. We look forward to helping you get your hands on the recordings you would like to use! 

Step 1: Create an Account or Sign In 

If you’re a new visitor to the Macaulay Library (ML) and Cornell Lab websites, the first step in the request process is to create a new Cornell Lab account. If you already have a Cornell Lab account—from ML, eBird, the Great Backyard Bird Count, or another Cornell Lab project—simply use your existing Cornell Lab account to sign in. 

Step 2: Search for Recordings and “Add to Cart”

After you have signed in, you can select recordings and add them to your ML Cart in a few different ways:

1. Use the Macaulay Library Search Box to search for the common name or scientific name of an animal:


If you see a recording that interests you, click on the catalog number link to go to the individual specimen page. If you would like to request it, click the "Add to Cart" button in the upper right-hand corner:


2. To request multiple recordings for a species, go to the “Add Species to Cart” page, type and select the species from the type-ahead list in the Species box, and then note the number of recordings needed or click "All Available."

3. If you already know specific ML catalog numbers that you would like to request, you can select catalog numbers (one at a time) on the “Add Recording by Catalog Number” page. 

Step 3: Place Order

When you are done selecting all of the media that you would like to request, go to "My Cart,” and then click on one of the "Proceed to About My Order" buttons.


On the "About My Order" page, please use the “Usage notes” box to include details of how you intend to use your requested media. Then select the appropriate license options for your usage and include relevant contact information in the "About You" section. Next, note your "Needed Date" in the bottom left-hand corner. Many simple orders, such as research requests, can be prepared quickly, but please plan for at least two weeks to process an order. Finally, press "Proceed to Review My Order" in the lower-left corner of the page.

After reviewing the details of your order, click "Place My Order" in the top-right corner of the page. This final step formally submits your order. Once you have placed your order, you should receive a confirmation email from “Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology” within a few minutes of your order. If you do not receive a confirmation email, go to “My Cart” and then “My Orders” to check on your order status. If your cart status is still “Active Cart,” please be sure to perform the “Place My Order” step in order to officially submit the order.


Once your order has been submitted, we will respond to you within a few days, with an estimate of the licensing fee and studio fee, if applicable. You will not be charged until you approve the estimate and the order is complete. There is no charge for research requests.

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