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DVOC Main Page > Birding the Delaware Valley Region > Found A Dead Bird?
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What to do if you find a dead bird?

In the course of our bird watching we often come across road-killed or window-killed birds. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP) is very interested in obtaining these specimens for their systematic collection. The ANSP has all the appropriate state and federal permits to legally obtain these specimens and you would be covered under these permits while holding the birds for transport to the museum.
If you find a freshly killed bird (even a common one!) try to get the bird in some sort of bag (Ziploc bags are perfect) and in a cool (preferably frozen) place as soon as possible. Carefully record the date you found the specimen and a specific locality (State, County, city, address/intersection/mile marker). Keep the bird frozen until you can get it to the Academy. Getting birds into freezers just before or after DVOC meetings seems to be a great way to easily get birds to the museum. Call the Ornithology Department if you have questions or concerns: 215-299-1125.

Does it have a band on it?

Sometimes a metal or plastic band has been placed on the bird’s leg or (as in geese and swans) as a neck collar. This information is vital in determining the migratory path that a certain bird has taken and its age, and for tracking population status of endangered or threatened species. Please record the band numbers; color combination if any; which leg the band was on; the date, time and location of your find along with its condition, and report it to the Bird Banding Lab ( or 1-800-327-BAND (2263). They will contact you with details as to where the bird was original banded. If the bird is a Peregrine Falcon, please also send this information to Art McMorris, Peregrine Falcon biologist;
Please bring this information, with the specimen, to the Academy as it is vital to retain with the specimen.

What should I do if I cannot collect the bird?

If it is not possible to collect or salvage the specimen, and you believe that the bird is a species of special interest (such as a Peregrine Falcon), taking photographs of the bird in several different positions would be very useful. These can then be sent to the Ornithology Department ANSP or in the case of Peregrine Falcons to Art McMorris.