AOU Committee on Bird Collections

Past News Highlights

September 2008: The AOU Collections Committee sponsored a symposium on collecting and preparing specimens at the annual meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists in Portland, Oregon, 8 August 2008. Entitled "A Beginners Guide to Collecting and Preparing Museum Specimens," this session was aimed at introducing students and non-museum people to the science of scientific collecting. Curators and collection managers from different museums provided live demonstrations on different kinds of specimen preparations. The Collections Committee worked with the Student Affairs Committee to engage a broad student audience. Click here for more information on topics.

September 2008: Members of the AOU Collections Committee organized a second symposium on ORNIS at the annual meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists in Portland, Oregon, 5 August 2008. Entitled "New Answers from Old Specimens," this symposium explored ORNIS and related projects to address questions of climate change, avian disease, phylogeography, and conservation. Click here for more information on topics.

October 2006: The AOU Collections Committee organized a roundtable discussion at the 2006 North American Ornithological Conference in Veracruz, Mexico, with a focus on permitting policies with international impact for scientific collecting of avian research specimens - in particular, the implications of a possible upcoming federal review of the scientific collecting policy for Canada. The title of this roundtable was Challenges and progress in scientific collecting policies: Canada as an impending case study for a national policy review. Discussion points included the current status of scientific collecting in Canada, Canadian and international aspirations for the outcome of a Canadian collecting policy review, lessons learned from previous national policy reviews in participating NAOC countries, and ideas for improving international coordination in shaping scientific collecting policy in North America. A total of 33 people attended the discussion.

September 2005: The AOU Collections Committee sponsored a symposium on collections at the annual meeting of the society in Seattle, Washington, August 2001. Papers developed from this symposium are published as a series of commentaries in the July 2005 issue of The Auk. Topics were as follows:

April 2005: New statutes governing the Universidad Nacional de Colombia would eliminate faculty positions at the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, thus jeopardizing the continuity and stability necessary for curation and study of the ICN collections. An open letter to colleagues requests that letters be sent to University administrators in support of the ICN and permanent research staffing.

March 2005: Letters in Science (pdf) highlight the impacts of proposed budget cuts to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, one of the most important research museums in the world. These cuts would result in the loss of 17 positions, including the Research Curator for birds.