Ornithology & Mammalogy
We have over 135,000 bird and mammal specimens from 120+ countries, with strengths in western North America, Mexico, Central America, the Galapagos, Solomon Islands, southeast Asia, and one of the world's largest marine mammal collections.
The Importance of Natural History Collections
CAS Special Publication: The Coral Triangle - The 2011 Hearst Philippine Biodiversity Expedition
The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce that 12 new members have joined the ranks of the Academy Fellows, a governing group of around 300 distinguished scientists who have made...
Today we are pleased to officially announce the launch of PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity, a new pilot Web site to connect the biodiversity community with...
The search forms provide access to the three primary collection databases of the Department of Ornithology & Mammalogy. These databases describe specimens in the Mammal, Bird, and Egg & Nest collections. The query forms in each database enables records to be retrieved using various fields (e.g. Genus, Country, Year, etc.). A maximum of 1,000 records can be retrieved at one time. Entering search criteria into more than one field can help keep result sets under the 1,000-record limit.
Currently cataloged in our collection database are 96,000 bird specimens, 28,500 mammal specimens, and 11,000 egg and nest specimens. As our computerization continues, more specimens will be added to our on-line database through periodic updates. Additionally, we are actively georeferencing many of our localities.
Discover and Protect a New Mammal Species
How do I take care of a baby bird?
If it appears that the baby bird fell out of a nest, then simply locate the nest nearby and carefully place the bird back in the nest. Despite persistent fallacies, the parents cannot smell your odor on the baby bird, and will usually accept the young back into the nest. Young birds often fall from nests after wind storms, when the nesting sites are disturbed by construction, predators, or children, or when an older sibling kicks them out of the nest. If you cannot locate a nest, keep the bird in a suitable warm container, and contact your local SPCA or a certified wildlife care facility immediately (see contact list below).
I searched your database but didn't find the type specimen I was looking for. Can you suggest another database to search?
Yes. Try looking in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
Can I get a copy of the rain forest bird list?
Why does that bird always sing?
“Those Damned Birds Keep Singing, And It’s Driving Me Nuts!” (An actual quote from a homeowner about birds singing in his yard.) Some birds, like the Northern Mockingbird, may sing night and day during the breeding season, and other birds, like crows and jays, may raise a ruckus from time to time. However, all native birds are protected by law, and there’s little you or any private or government agency can do about it. For most people, the songs of birds, even if too loud at times, are joyous reminders of the diversity of nature in their community.
Can I collect specimens?
Native birds and mammals living within the State of California are protected either by state, federal, or international laws, even when they are dead. It is illegal for private citizens to own most native birds or mammals, either in whole or in part (including skulls, bones, antlers, and even feathers), except under terms of special permits or by exemptions under hunting laws and licenses. Therefore, collecting most bird or mammal specimens, either alive or dead, is illegal without proper permits and licenses. Fines and penalties for violating such regulations can amount to thousands of dollars, and even the possibility of jail time, depending on the severity of the infraction. The California Department of Fish & Game issues permits to educational institutions for use of bird or mammal material in educational programs.
Can you identify this bird, bone, or animal?
I would like to visit the Ornithology & Mammalogy Collections. Who should I contact?
How do you know if an animal is endangered?
I found a dead sea lion and I called The Marine Mammal Center. They said to call you guys. How do I report it?
If it is dead, call us at 415-379-5381 and we’ll try to salvage it for research. If it is still alive, please call the Marine Mammal Center at 415-289-SEAL (415-289-7325) – they will retrieve it and take care of it. We’ll need to know where and when you found the sea lion (or any other stranded marine mammal).
How do I remove a nuisance animal from my yard?
In urban and suburban areas, some animals have become habituated to humans because we provide food and housing for them. If these animals become a nuisance, there are several steps you can take to make them feel unwelcome, and lessen the likelihood that they’ll stick around:
Feed all pets indoors. These animals often raid your pet’s food bowls at night and learn that your home is an easy meal for them.
Keep all trash cans upright and with tight-fitting (or locking) lids. These are crafty animals that have learned to associate trash cans with food, and frequently raid your trash area for food. Keeping your trash cans critter proof will keep your place tidy and keep unwanted animals away.
Cover all basements, decks, and crawlspaces. Use of plywood, bricks, or wire mesh should be used to block any entries into basements, attics, crawlspaces, or under foundations where these animals may set up home and raise a family.
If skunks, opossums, or raccoons become a persistent problem, call your local Animal Control officers.
I found an injured bird. What should I do?
If a bird hit a window and appears stunned but otherwise uninjured, it is important to place the bird into a warm, darkened box or similar container, and release the bird when it comes back to its senses. Leaving a bird in such a condition outside makes it easy prey for cats, dogs, or other predators. If the animal appears to have an injury, or it you find an animal injured in any other way, contact your local SPCA or a certified wildlife care facility immediately (see contact list below).