Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus
August 15, 2011
My apologies if this is a bit too morbid to go with your Monday morning cup of coffee, but I thought I would show you what I do when I volunteer at the Field Museum. Yes, this beautiful, male P. ludovicianus is dead. He was a window kill. A volunteer found him near a downtown building, and he was brought to the museum to be made in to a study skin. That's where I come in. He died in May of this year, and has been sitting in a museum freezer until last week. He'd been catalogued, weighed and measured, but needed to be turned in to a study skin. I went in last Thursday, and Dave Willard ( bird collections manager) removed him from the freezer to thaw. It took me roughly 1.5 hours to remove all his viscera and stuff him with cotton. I also have to measure his gonads and take a tissue sample. After he's been cleaned and sewn back up, then (as you can see in the photo above) the specimen is pinned out to dry for a week or two before going in to the collections. He'll rest in the collections with others of his kind, until needed for research. Sad, I know, but at least this way we can maybe find something out that will help reduce the number of window kills annually. I'll talk a bit about the species in depth in a following post.