The bird collection is of great historic and scientific value. Highlights include specimens of extinct species such as the Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Eskimo Curlew, Great Auk, and Carolina Parakeet. Our approximately 10,000 bird skins and 4000 bird skeletons mainly represent North American species, with particular focus on birds from New York State. The collection of nearly 5000 egg sets, some with nests, is one of the country’s largest, and its coverage is worldwide. The Ornithology Collection includes the important research collections of Robert W. Shufeldt, Roy C. Latham, Eugene P. Bicknell, Elon H. Eaton and Steven W. Eaton.
The collection adds hundreds of new specimens each year. The Ornithology Collection actively seeks to obtain specimens of birds (skins, skeletons, fluid-preserved, or fossil) to fulfill its goal of becoming representative of the past and present avifauna of New York State and adjacent regions.
The NYSM encourages the use of its collections by qualified scholars, researchers, artists, and educators. Those that wish to visit the collection should contact the Curator to make arrangements. Requests for specimen loans for teaching, research, or exhibition, or for sampling of specimens for research should also be directed, in writing to the Curator.
Bird Research at NYSM