[Tweeters] Dealing With Dead Birds

Wally Davis wallydavis3 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 14:01:38 PST 2016

>From time-to-time I have seen discussion lamenting the death of birds that

fly into windows. Unfortunately, this is something that occurs occasionally
when birds come to feeders. As a retired biologist who spent quite a few
years working in museums, I was aware that these birds could become
specimens in research collection. Consequently, the occasional bird that
hits my windows ends up in UW’s Burke Museum. An acquaintance of mine is
the curator of birds at the Burke Museum, and I asked if he would like me to
post procedures and contact information for donating dead birds. The
response was a resounding yes.

If you have a freshly killed bird in good condition (e.g. not chewed by a
cat) that you would like to donate to the Burke Museum I suggest the

· On a card print the following information CLEARLY:

o Species of bird (common name is probably ok, I usually use both common
and scientific)

o Collected by ___________ (your name)

o Collected on ___________ (date)

o Your contact information, such as phone and e-mail, in case the person
filling out the formal museum tag has questions.

o Location Personally I provide several types of descriptions as different
museums/researchers use different approaches. While not everything will be
permanently recorded, providing great detail will help address any

§ City and State

§ GPS coordinates (from your cell phone or tablet – Free apps I use are
“GPS Status” for Android and “Commander Compass Lite” for the iPhone)

§ Township and Range

§ Distance and direction from the nearest cross streets.

o Any notes you think might be relevant.

· Put the card and the bird in a zip lock bag and freeze it (my wife
accepted years ago that living with a biologist meant strange things in the

· Contact one of the Collections Managers at the Burke Museum, Rob
Faucett (rfaucett at uw.edu) and/or Chris wood (puffinus at uw.edu).

If you don’t live close enough to the Burke Museum, the same process will
apply to all museums. You might check colleges and universities near you.

Good birding,

Wally Davis


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