The SDSU Biodiversity Museum Ornithology Collection contains over 4,000 specimens, including mounts, study skins, skeletons, nests, and eggs. The earliest specimens date to the late 1800s, with additional material continuously added to the present day.

Most of our holdings are focused on southern California; however, through decades of donations from the San Diego Zoo, we also have an excellent representation of global avian diversity.

The collection is an essential resource for the university’s teaching and research missions. Specimens in the collection are an integral part of many SDSU Biology courses. In addition, they form the foundation of many theses and research projects, both at SDSU and elsewhere. SDSU Birds is a Google Scholar Page of publications using our bird collections.

In addition to traditional specimens, since 1998, we have also been saving genetic material from specimens in the collection. Thus, we have both phenotype and genotype preserved for most of the specimens added since 1998. The Ornithology Collection also serves as a repository for the genetic resources of the ornithology collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Our combined collections contain genetic material for over 6,500 individual birds.

For further information about the ornithology collection, please contact Professor Kevin J. Burns, Curator of Birds.

tanager museum specimens