The NYSM 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 12,000 bird skins and 5,000 bird skeletons mainly represent North American species, with particular focus on birds from New York State. The collection of nearly 6,000 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 Stephen W. Eaton.
The Ornithology Collection adds hundreds of new specimens each year and actively seeks to obtain specimens of birds (whole, frozen birds in good shape as well as “orphaned” collections of skins, skeletons, eggs, or fossils) to fulfill its goal of becoming representative of the past and present avifauna of New York State and adjacent regions.
Access to the Collections
The NYSM encourages the use of its collections by students, 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 be directed in writing to the curator or collection manager.
Our specimen holdings are searchable on VertNet.org: http://portal.vertnet.org/search
Select “advanced search options” and choose NYSM for “institution code”.
This ongoing exhibit highlights many of the incredible birds that call New York State home.