The Bird Egg Collection

Claire Miles explores our LMG’s Bird Egg collection during her placement with our Natural Sciences Collection.

Museums and extinct species

Natural science museum collections contain some of the huge biodiversity that we share our home planet with. A particular jewel of museum collections that curators are keen to shout about are specimens of extinct species. Despite the promises of technological advances, once species have become extinct, we will never again share our planet with them….

Eggy Oddities: Why Kiwis Produce Massive Eggs

Generally in the natural world the size of one’s offspring correlates with the size of one’s self. Elephant babies are huge and mouse babies are tiny. The bigger the bird the bigger the egg or the bigger the egg the bigger the bird…depending on which came first! Of course nothing in nature is that simple…

A bird in the hand… – Photographing the Leeds Bird Skins Collection

Patterns and plumage – photographing the bird skin collection Our bird skin collection has all been fully rehomed and documented. Now that the Skin Deep project has finished, the bird skins are all arranged in drawers, so are much more accessible to view and handle than their previous home in boxes. My work this morning…

The Passenger Pigeon – 100 Years On

September 1st 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a stark reminder of the destruction humanity can inflict on the natural world. It is estimated that when Europeans first arrived on the coasts of North America, the Passenger Pigeon was the most abundant land bird in the country,…

Collections through Cake: Feeling Bird-iful

Collections through Cake has been busy across the Summer, and in this post I’d like to bring to you egg-tention some fascinating objects from our oological collections … Eggy, Steady – Go!* Another question could be what comes first, the egg or the nest? Kirsty, our Bird Skins Curator, previously #MusCake-d about a Barn Swallow’s…

Sunny Sand Martins

I often see nice bits of urban wildlife on my walk to the Discovery Centre from the train station. Lately I’ve been cheered by the sight of Sand Martins (Riparia riparia) flying around over the River Aire by Leeds Bridge. These are amazing birds, related to the more familiar Swallow and House Martin. They are…

A look back at the bird egg collection project

Back in March 2012, I joined the Leeds Museums and Galleries team as a Biology Curatorial Trainee and was privileged enough to be given (near) free rein over the natural science collections, to improve my curatorial skills and knowledge of natural sciences while expanding my museum experience. One collection that needed some attention was the…

Hummingbirds and the Greenish Puffleg

As a volunteer involved in the Skin Deep project, I have had the opportunity to handle rare, sometimes even extinct birds from the collection. As volunteers and interns, it is our task to catalogue the mounted bird and bird skin collection.Each drawer contains a range of specimens. Some of the drawers I have catalogued contained…