The ornithological research collection consists of about 2000 bird skins, 50 bird nests with eggs, and 50 empty bird nests. The collection has no skeletal or alcohol preserved specimens. Approximately 90% of the birds preserved as skins were collected in Alabama. The remaining skins are primarily from elsewhere in the Southeast, although a few specimens collected in Central America and Europe are represented. Many of the skins represent the first documentation of that species in the state. A few remain the only documentation of the species for the state. Exact numbers of skins and precise breakdown of collecting sites is not possible because the collection has never been catalogued.
In addition to the research collection, the AUNHMLC houses a large teaching collection consisting of about 100 bird skins, fifty bird nests, and about 30 full taxidermic mounts of birds. Most of the skins in the teaching collection were prepared from salvaged carcasses by students taking Ornithology (ZY575). The teaching collection is used by several classes in the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Science to teach bird identification and avian anatomy. Loans of specimens are made to scientists and students associated with recognized institutions or to others with adequate credentials. For more information, e-mail or visit with the Curator.
Volunteer workers in the bird collection perform tasks vital to the maintenance and use of the specimens. During their volunteer activities, they become experienced in curatorial functions, gain familiarity with the bird fauna, and have the opportunity to interact with a variety of scientists. For more information or to volunteer your services, e-mail or visit with the Curator.