ornithology birds collections drawer research and collections

Ornithology, the study of birds, is one of the founding disciplines of the Natural History Museum. At the core of the program is a research collection of 121,000 bird specimens, representing over 5,400 species. Our collections are particularly strong for North America, Africa, South America, and the Pacific Ocean. The bird skeleton collection, representing over 17,000 individuals, is among the three largest in western North American and is an important resource for the museum’s well-known studies of fossil birds.


  • Study skins: can be used for studying coloration, getting DNA, morphology, stable isotopes, parasites, molt, reproduction
  • Skeletons: morphology, references for paleo work and zooarchaeological (including functional anatomy)
  • Data: localities can reflect distributions in time and space
  • Tissue collection: resource for different types of molecular studies
  • We are also a resource for field guide illustrators and fine artists 


Birds of LA County
Birds of Exposition Park

SEARch our Collections

The ornithology collection can be searched online through VertNet, iDigBio, or GBIF.  Our institution code is LACM and our collection code is Birds.

Collections Use, Loan Policies & Depositing Specimens 

Our Staff

Allison J. Shultz, Ph.D.
Associate Curator, Ornithology

Allison is an ornithologist who integrates research across evolutionary timescales to gain an understanding of the processes that produce the patterns of biodiversity.

Young Ha Suh, Ph.D.
Collections Manager, Ornithology

As Collections Manager for our Ornithology department, Young is responsible for the care and operation of our extensive collection of birds.

Jessie Salter, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Ornithology

Jessie earned a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship to work with Allison Shultz and Kayce Bell on feather lice.

Maeve Secor
Graduate Student, Ornithology

Maeve is a Ph.D. student at USC and a graduate student-in-residence in Ornithology, working with Allison Shultz.

Kimball L. Garrett
Collections Manager (Retired), Ornithology

Collections Manager Kimball L. Garrett is responsible for the care and use of the ornithological collections, additions of specimens to the collections, and the databases associated with the collections

Kenneth Campbell, Ph.D.
Curator Emeritus, Ornithology

Dr. Campbell began his tenure at the Natural History Museum in 1977 as one of two curators to fill staff positions for the newly opened George C. Page Museum, a satellite facility of the Natural History Museum.


Questions? Contact us at birds@nhm.org.