AOU Committee on Bird Collections

Past Workshops/Symposia

August 2008: The AOU Collections Committee held a symposium on 8 August 2008 at the joint meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists, Portland, Oregon. Entitled A Beginner’s 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. Presentations included:

What every Ornithologist should know about Museums
Specimen Demo 1: How to prepare a bird study skin
Collecting: Permits, practices, and equipment
A primer on recording field data, with an emphasis on good versus bad localities
Specimen Demo 2: How to prepare a bird skeleton and pickled specimen

August 2008: A second collections-related symposium, entitled New Answers from Old Specimens, also was held at the 2008 AOU meeting in Portland (co-organized by Marina Anciães, Carla Cicero, and A. Townsend Peterson). This symposium explored ORNIS and related projects to address questions of climate change, avian disease, phylogeography, and conservation. Talks were as follows:

Accumulation of knowledge of birds in North American biocollections institutions
Tracking and forecasting the spread of avian zoonotic diseases
Linking phylogeography and distributional ecology
Forecasting avifaunal consequences of global climate change
Reconstructing past and ensemble forecasting future distributional responses of California's birds to climate change
ORNIS - State of the network address

August 2005: Two pre-meeting workshops were held on Tuesday, 23 August 2005, at the AOU meeting in Santa Barbara, California.

A morning workshop, "Increasing Access to Avian Biodiversity Data," focused on current initiatives to develop distributed databases of avian collections data (ORNIS) and bird monitoring data (ORGANIZERS: Carla Cicero, A. Town Peterson, John Wieczorek, Steve Kelling).

An afternoon workshop, "Ask the experts: USFWS and USDA staff explain the rules and procedures for importing/exporting bird specimens," brought in top people from these agencies to clarify permit regulations pertaining to import/export (ORGANIZER: Ornithological Council).