Why do you have so many Blue Tits?

(Selection of Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and Great Tits (Parus major) )
If you ever have a look at a Natural History collection and wonder why they might have a large number of a specific species, it’s because each specimen is like a snap-shot in time and will have individual differences. For some of the specimens we have data about the exact place that they where they were collected and this is very useful for research purposes. If you have a specimen that was collected in the 1850’s from, for example – Amsterdam, and in later years a survey is done and the species is no longer found there then this can give you an indication that there has been a change or disturbance of some kind, such as a change in habitat due to deforestation or an increase in water/flooding due to climate change. This is why, having more than one example of a particular species is useful, as the information attached to them has scientific value. You can also compare colour and size, as some species can vary quite a bit in appearance and this allows you to identify animals by being familiar in how they may look. Part of the Skin Deep project will be data basing each and every specimen and logging all of the information that is attached with each one. This will allow us to see how many species we actually have and where these are from.

(Selection of Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

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