[mou] what to do with a dead bird--for education & science

gordon andersson gpandersson at msn.com
Fri Oct 12 18:43:42 EDT 2007

I am not an expert on the 1918 Migratory Bird Act et. sequelae, but I
understand that institutions that have "salvage" permits from the US Fish &
Wildlife Service can accept window-kill and road-kill specimens.  I am not
trying to interpret the law here either, but people can contact museums,
agencies, etc to get info on how to proceed.  
Unlike years past, few collecting permits are issued to procure specimens
anymore-- true too for education.  Nature education relies in many cases on
these accidental deaths. I think the few of the millions of window killed
birds each year that are made into educational specimens are not wasted and
serve a greater purpose.
In addition to the UM Bell Museum, the DNR Nongame Wildlife program, and at
least some of the metro area nature centers might accept specimens in good
condition for educational purposes, but call first of course.  There
freezers might be already full-- there is a lot of mortality out there.
However, many of the birds used for taxidermy mounts and study skins at
museums and nature centers and DNR are from citizens who turn them in. Major
institutions like the Field Museum in Chicago get specimens for taxonomic
research from throughout the region.

To get a bird to a proper institution, it is very important that a bird be
first put in the freezer as soon as possible and that it be properly done so
that a good specimen is actually usable. The bird should be put in a plastic
ziplock or other impermeable bag and the air should be forced out of the bag
before sealing.  I know that many otherwise beautiful specimens suffer
freezer burn during extended storage in agencies or museums because they
were not double bagged or bagged in sealed plastic and air got to the bird
before it was prepared. Other birds spoil because they were not frozen soon
enough. I am guessing that most specimens received are not properly treated
which is too bad. After the time and effort, many specimens are thrown
away-- unless the tissues are used for DNA research.  
The tower, guy-wire, window, and automobile mortality of birds in this
country is enormous.  A small number of these creatures can be used for
education or research, but only if handled in the right way.   

-----Original Message-----
From: mou-net-bounces at moumn.org [mailto:mou-net-bounces at moumn.org] On Behalf
Of merc0069 at umn.edu
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:24 PM
To: Ben Parke
Cc: mou-net at moumn.org
Subject: Re: [mou] what to do with a dead bird


The U of M will take them through the Bell Museum of Natural History. 
Document the date and location found, and put it in your freezer until you 
can get it to them.


On Oct 11 2007, Ben Parke wrote:

> I have a white-throated sparrow that became a casuality of my bird 
> feeder. Not sure what happened to it as I've never had a bird fly into my 
> dirty windows before and it does not appear to have been mauled by a 
> predator. What do you all usually do with "casualties"?
>  Thanks,
>  Ben - chaska
>Moody friends. Drama queens. Your life? Nope! - their life, your story.
> Play Sims Stories at Yahoo! Games. 

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