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MSB Bird Division Collections

Twin Lakes, Colorado September 2006 (A. Johnson)

Online searchable database

Click above or here for access to our online searchable database.

Requests for additional data can be made by contacting the Division staff.
Our data are available for use according to our Data Release Policy (11 kB PDF)

How The Collection Grows

Specimens may be added to the Bird collection through:

  • Salvage: Wildlife rehabilitators are required to send any avian casualties the Division of Birds or the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), a cooperative agency with the Museum of Southwestern Biology. All specimens should be frozen and deposited with full data (see If You Find a Dead Bird, below). The NMDGF allows any bird found dead by private citizens to be donated to the Division of Birds.
  • Selective collecting: by staff and associates.
  • Exchange: with other institutions.

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. Proper care for a specimen upon collection saves time later in the preparation process. Stuff a piece of absorbent cotton or bathroom tissue down its throat and make an effort to keep the feathers as neat and clean as possible. Freeze specimens individually in tightly sealed plastic bags.

Essential data for a useful specimen are:

Locality: Where the specimen was obtained.
A locality should be described from broadest locality to most specific (e.g., New Mexico: Grant County, Silver City).

Date: Do not use all numbers for a date (e.g., 6/5/00)!!! Is this the fifth of June or sixth of May? 1900 or 2000? Write the date as 5 June 2000: day, month spelled out (or 3-letter abbreviation), and 4-digit year. This is unambiguous to anyone anywhere.

Who obtained the specimen is useful data, though not essential. Other useful data (if known) are: cause of death (e.g., window strike), date of hatch, and any other remarks about the circumstances of collection that the collector deems useful or interesting. Soft part colors (e.g., iris color, bill and foot color)should be recorded on specimens that are known to have been dead less than 2 hours. Data should be written ledgibly in pencil or non-soluble ink (e.g., Uniball; ballpoint or felt-tip not recommended).

Downloadable collection datasheet PDF >