Sternberg Museum of Natural History (FHSM) Ornithology Collection

The FHSM Ornithology Collection currently contains over 5,000 specimens, with approximately 4,500 stuffed skins and over 500 osteological specimens. The collection was started by Dr. Chuck Ely in the 1960s. Dr. Ely added thousands of specimens over the course of the next few decades, mostly important voucher specimens from the Great Plains and representatives of groups from throughout the world. Dr. Greg Farley took over as Curator in the mid-1990s, and as an Ornithologist and Behavioral Ecologist, he and his students added very few skins over the next few decades. However, Dr. Farley and his students made significant contributions to the osteology collection during his tenure as Curator, salvaging hundreds of specimens to be skeletonized and used by Ornithologists and Paleontologists for a variety of research purposes. In 2001, Dr. Elmer Finck joined Dr. Farley and has continued contributing to the collection ever since. Dr. Finck is currently the Curator Emeritus of Ornithology at FHSM.


Download for a look at the FHSM Ornithology Osteology Collection:

Terms of Use

The Division of Ornithology specimens, databases, and images are owned and copyrighted by the Sternberg Museum of Natural History or licensed to it. The data and images may be used freely by individuals and organizations for purposes of basic research, education, and conservation. These data and images may not be used for commercial or for-profit purposes without the express written consent of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and may not be repackaged, resold, or redistributed in any form. Use of the data or images in publications, dissertations, and theses, or other scientific reports, should be accompanied by an acknowledgment of the Division of Ornithology, Sternberg Museum of Natural History, as the source for the information. Please provide the Department with separate articles resulting from the use of these data or images. This helps us to document the use of specimens as “vouchers” in the literature. It also helps us to justify continued funding for the collections so that these resources remain available in the future.


The FHSM Staff is available for outreach programs at various levels (Grade School through High School, and adult organizations). Email Education and Outreach Director, Ian Trevethan, at ijtrevethan@fhsu.edu for more information.


Visiting the collections is encouraged, when possible, especially when dealing with type and/or rare specimens. Please contact the appropriate Curator and Collections Manager for more information.

Please direct all specimen inquiries to:
Dr. Laura E. Wilson, Chief Curator (lewilson6@fhsu.edu)
Dr. Elmer J. Finck, Curator Emeritus of Ornithology and Mammalogy (efinck@fhsu.edu) 
Dr. Medhavi Ambardar, Associate Curator of Ornithology (m_ambardar@fhsu.edu)