Bird fly into your window? Consider donating it to science

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museum bird

Salvaged Great Horned Owl. Photo by Sharon Birks, courtesy of Burke Museum.

SEATTLE- Bet you didn’t know there was a bird morgue located in Seattle?

The Burke Museum’s Ornithology Department collects dead birds to use as scientific specimens for students and researchers from around the globe.

Each year, the museum takes in salvaged birds from members of the public and wildlife rehabiliation clinics. According to KUOW, the museum boasts one of the largest ornithological research collections in the world- almost 100,000 birds in all. Between 2,000 to 4,000 birds are added per year to the collection, which includes a wide range of birds from robins to flamingos and penguins.

To be valuable as specimens, the birds must have the date, where it was located, time of day and nature of death. Once donated, they are stored in large walk in freezers until they are processed into study skins. Then they are placed inside large white lockers and used for education and research.

The Ornithology collection is open by appointment only, with preference given to those using it for original research. Visits must be arranged through the museum at

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