The CUMV Bird Collection contain a record of the development of
ornithology at Cornell from the earliest days of Arthur A. Allen
and Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Dr. Arthur A. Allen, on the faculty
at Cornell from 1915-1953, made the name Cornell nearly
synonymous with ornithology in the United States. Allen
contributed many birds to the collection, and possibly even more
importantly, attracted a very large number of students
interested in birds. His numerous students contributed specimens
from their research and travels all over the United States,
Canada, Mexico, and other parts of the world. The CUMV
collection contain many specimens collected by of Cornell
faculty such as George M. Sutton, Charles Sibley, William
Dilger, and Tom Cade, but also contains student specimens of
Dean Amadon, Walter Bock, F. Graham Cooch, John Emlen, Herbert
Friedmann, Ludlow Griscom, Harry Hann, Robert Mengel, Eugene
Morton, Ralph Palmer, Kenneth Parkes, Olin S. Pettingill, Alan
Phillips, Austin Rand, James Rising, Lester Short, Stanley
Temple, Harrison Tordoff, David Wingate, as well as many others.
The CUMV Bird Collection currently consists of approximately 38,300 round skins, 700 flat skins, 1000 spread wings, 5,500 skeletons, 1,400 fluid-preserved specimens, 3,200 egg sets, 590 nests, and 1,000 uncataloged mounts. Approximately 350 of the skeletons have an associated flatskin, and approximately 150 round skins have a separate spread wing. The collection has a world-wide coverage, with approximately half the species of the world's birds (Wood et al. 1982) represented, as well as a number of recently extinct species (such as the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the Carolina Parakeet and the Passenger Pigeon). All families (Wetmore 1960) are represented except the Atrichornithidae. Specimens are present from all continents and more than 134 different countries. The collection is particularly strong in North American material; very few species that breed or regularly occur north of Mexico are missing as skins. Strongest holdings within this area are New York, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Florida, South Dakota, Colorado, Manitoba, and Alaska, but all 50 US states and 10 of the Canadian provinces and territories are represented. The area of next greatest representation is Mexico, especially the states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Tamalipas, Puebla, Nuevo Leon, and Oaxaca. The collection contains much topotypical material, but no type specimens are currently kept in the collection.
Data for specimens and tissues contained in the CUMV Bird Collection can be searched via Arctos or VertNet.
A related collection of bird media is the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. MLNS is the largest collection of its kind in the world, with more than 175,000 audio and 60,000 video recordings documenting the behavioral diversity of birds and other animals.
For questions regarding the CUMV Bird Collection please contact the Collection Manager.