Ornithological (Birds) Collection

The Ornithological Collection at Tall Timbers Research Station contains a diversity of study skins, skeletons, skulls, and other preserved specimens. The collection is dominated by species collected in the Southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States, but also includes specimens from 24 countries (Table 1) and 37 states (Table 2).

Ornithological Collection Data:

Ornithological Collection Images:

  • Morphbank Online Database Select “Browse”, then “Image”, then enter species name and “Tall Timbers” in the “Keywords” box.

Table 1. Specimens in the ornithological collection grouped by country.

Unknown
9
Greenland
1
Argentina
1
Honduras
3
Bahamas
6
Italy
1
Brazil
2
Mexico
41
British Guiana
1
Panama
14
Canada
42
Portugal
2
Cape Verde Islands
1
Puerto Rico
4
Columbia
2
Rumania
1
Cuba
6
Sudan
2
Dominican Republic
1
Syria
1
Ecuador
6
U.S.
3791
England
4
West Indies
2

 

Table 2. Specimens grouped by U.S. states and territories.

Unknown
11
Mississippi
7
Alabama
28
Montana
12
Alaska
20
Nebraska
4
Arizona
85
Nevada
1
Arkansas
1
New Hampshire
1
California
20
New Jersey
5
Colorado
2
New Mexico
6
Connecticut
1
New York
3
Florida
2861
North Carolina
6
Georgia
630
North Dakota
1
Guam
1
Oklahoma
3
Illinois
2
Oregon
8
Indiana
2
South Dakota
2
Iowa
4
Tennessee
1
Louisiana
8
Texas
39
Maine
4
Utah
4
Maryland
1
Virginia
1
Massachusetts
1
Washington
3
Minnesota
2
Wyoming
1

 

The collection consists of 3,946 specimens representing 565 species and 3 hybirds. Some recent taxonomic changes (e.g., separation of the seaside sparrow complex) are not reflected in these numbers. At least 34 species are represented by >25 specimens (Table 3). This series might be useful in studies of geographic variation or age and seasonal differences.

Table 3. Total specimens for species with >25 specimens.

Red-winged Blackbird
116
Summer Tanager
32
Northern Bobwhite
91
Indigo Bunting
32
Savannah Sparrow
80
Ovenbird
31
Common Yellowthroat
78
Vesper Sparrow
31
Veery
54
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
30
Yellow-throated Warbler
50
Palm Warbler
30
Boat-tailed Grackle
49
Great Crested Flycatcher
30
Swainson’s Thrush
49
Northern Cardinal
29
Song Sparrow
48
Carolina Wren
29
Bachman’s Sparrow
45
Red-eyed Vireo
29
Hermit Thrush
44
Acadian Flycatcher
28
Rufous-sided Towhee
44
Marsh Wren
28
Brown-headed Cowbird
43
Grasshopper Sparrow
28
Yellow Warbler
36
Seaside Sparrow
27
American Robin
36
Dark-eyed Junco
26
Orange-crowned Warbler
35
American Redstart
26
Swamp Sparrow
33
Wild Turkey
25

 

The collection has specimens dating back to the late 1800s, but the peak period of specimen collection occurred from 1950-70 as the research program at Tall Timbers expanded and a study of tower kills was initiated at a nearby television station.

Birds killed at WCTV tower in one night

Birds killed at WCTV tower in one night

Number of specimens by month where January = 1

Number of specimens by month where January = 1

Most of these specimens were collected during spring and fall migration. The collection also includes approximately 23 species listed by state and federal wildlife agencies as rare or endangered.

Specimens collected in Florida (n=2,861) represent 345 species and come from 50 counties. The largest number of specimens comes from Leon County (n=1,801), but at least seven Florida counties are represented by >20 specimens (see map below).

Most Florida specimens come from the previously mentioned tower-kill study conducted in Leon County, but other Florida localities with numerous specimens include St. George Island, Dog Island, Bald Point, and Alligator Point. Specimens from Georgia (n = 630) represent 176 species and one hybrid and come mostly from Birdsong and Sherwood plantations in Grady County.

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Tall Timbers Research Station Scientific Collections is supported in honor of Howard Melville and Jean Claire Hanna by their grandchildren. For more information about the scientific collections, contact Jim Cox.