Jeremy Kirchman in the Prep Lab
If You Find a Dead Bird
Birds found dead are an important source of museum specimens. Dead birds should be frozen as soon as possible after they are found. Store specimens individually in tightly sealed plastic bags.
Essential data for a useful specimen are:
Locality: Record where the specimen was obtained.
The locality should be described from broadest locality to most specific with as much detail as possible (e.g., New York: Rensselaer County, Town of Brunswick, Pennyroyal Lane, approximately 5 mi. East of Troy).
Date found: Do not use all numbers for a date, e.g., 5/2/07, as this could be interpreted as May 2nd or the 5th of February. Write the date as 5 February 2007, that is with the day, month spelled out (or 3-letter abbreviation), and 4-digit year. This is unambiguous to anyone anywhere.
Collector: It is often useful to know who obtained the specimen data.
Cause of death: (e.g., window strike, roadkill). Any other remarks about the circumstances the collector deems useful should also be noted.
Data should be written legibly in pencil or permanent ink on a piece of paper stored in the bag with the bird.
What about the threat of West Nile Virus and other avian diseases?
There is little threat of WNV or avian influenza from birds found dead along a highway or under a window, or from birds that died from obvious injuries. Birds found dead or dying in large groups, or other situtations must be handled with caution. Such birds should be handled with gloves, dropped in a sealable plastic bag and labled as possible WNV infected. These specimens will be sent to the NYDEC Wildlife Pathology Unit to be tested. If you observe a large die-off of birds you should contact the NYDEC-WPU directly.
Please arrange donations by e-mail or phone with Joe Bopp, our Collection Manager.