For the last couple of months I have been trying to keep a list of every bird that I prepare at the Field Museum. I've been writing down the common and scientific names of each, along with their Field Museum collections number. Even though I have been going in rather inconsistently, in looking over my current list the variety of species are mind boggling. I work on a tiny sliver of what the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors bring in on a weekly basis to be catalogued, but even that tiny sliver can give you an indication of the diversity of avian life that comes through, and the impact of urban areas upon it. Fall migration season is winding down, and so for the winter the Collision Monitors will not need to wander downtown buildings again until spring. In the meantime, unfortunately, there are freezers full of birds that need to be catalogued and endless amounts of data to be assessed in their wake.


  1. I've been logging my birds since the beginning, but I never thought to put in their tag numbers -- I should start doing that. Instead I write notes: complaints about how difficult the bird was and why, if I was happy with how it turned out and why or why not, and if a bird is new to me, usually something about its color and size. It is really nice to go back and see that something I once had trouble with is now easier.

    Your handwriting is much neater and more scientific looking than mine. :)

  2. I should be writing down notes too. At the very least it would help so that I don't go in there every week and make the same blunder over and over again. I've been writing down the tag numbers so that I can come back in 20 years and look up some of my specimens to see if my workmanship has held up. ; )


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