A revision of bird skin preparation aimed at improving the scientific value of ornithological collections



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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11703/127839
Title: A revision of bird skin preparation aimed at improving the scientific value of ornithological collections
Authors: Consorci del Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Carrillo-Ortiz, José
Guallar, Santi
Martínez-Vargas, Jessica
Quesada, Javier
Issue Date: 28-Jan-2021
Keywords: Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Col·leccions de ciències naturals
Conservació d'espècimens zoològics
Access to document: http://hdl.handle.net/2072/445584
Publisher: SAGE publications
Extent: 24 p.
Abstract: The methods used to preserve bird skins in museums have a potentially crucial impact on the feasibility and use of these specimens as a source of biological knowledge, although this subject is rarely broached. Study skins of birds are usually prepared with folded wings and straight legs to facilitate storage in the collection; yet, this method can hamper the measurement and examination of certain important features such as wing-feather moult. To make consultation easier for ornithologists, alternative preparation methods such as the splitting of wings and tarsi from the rest of the animal have been proposed by curators. Our aim was to study whether or not preparing bird specimens with spread limbs makes consultation simpler. First, we used two different methods to prepare two specimens each of two common European passerine species: (1) ‘traditional’ (folded wings and straight tarsi) and (2) ‘spread’ (limbs spread on one side of the body). Then, we asked 22 experienced ornithologists to identify moult limits and take three biometric measurements (wing chord, length of the third primary feather and tarsus length) from all four specimens. Subsequently, we asked which preparation method they preferred for obtaining data. The ‘spread’ preparation was preferred for moult, third primary feather length and tarsus length, whilst the ‘traditional’ preparation was preferred for wing chord. Data obtained from the folded and spread preparations were very highly repeatable within each method but only moderately to highly repeatable between methods. One of the handicaps with the ‘spread’ preparation is the increase in storage space required, a factor that should be taken into account before it is employed. Nevertheless, this specimen preparation technique can greatly facilitate consultation and therefore improve the scientific value of ornithological collections.
Terms of use details: © The Author(s) 2021. Original article published by SAGE at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1758155920987151
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