Skin preparation

An important goal for us is to maintain time series for common British bird species.

We also aim to incorporate vagrant species to Britain that are found dead, as they not only provide an important historical record, but subsequent molecular research could help determine their geographic origin or taxonomic status.

Skin sources

We rarely kill birds specifically for the collections. Dead birds are received mainly from wildlife hospitals, bird ringers and the general public (through road casualties, window strikes, etc.).  

Generally, we aim to incorporate rare and poorly represented species from all over the world when such specimens can be legally and ethically sourced. In practice, most are casualties from captive collections, such as zoos and conservation programmes, or exchanges with other museums.

Follow the links below to watch videos of two kinds of specimen preparation.


Time series

A time series is a significant number of specimens from a single taxon continually added to the collection, covering a long period. Many of our time series now extend well over a century.