Collections of bird specimens are an important resource for teaching bird identification, but acquiring suitable specimens can be problematic. Older collections tend to be preserved with a variety of potentially harmful chemicals; additionally, traditional methods for preparing specimens typically require extensive training. Freeze-drying is a method that involves removing water from specimens via sublimation, and may be an acceptable alternative to conventional taxidermy techniques for teaching collections. We freeze-dried 63 birds and 12 bird parts (i.e., talons and wings) of 44 species salvaged from throughout Pennsylvania since January 2008 using a Taxi-Dry Freeze-Dryer (Freeze-dry Specialties, Inc.). To determine the extent of water lost during the freeze-drying process, we measured the masses of birds and parts before and after preservation. Whole birds that were successfully freeze-dried lost 59.4% ± 0.9% (mean ± SE) of their initial mass, and unsuccessfully dried birds lost 46.9% ± 3.5% of their initial mass. Generally, birds with an initial mass >160 g did not lose enough water in the freeze-drying process to be effectively preserved. We conclude that if proper storage and maintenance conditions are met, freeze-drying can be an effective method for preserving small bird specimens for teaching collections.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 20 • No. 3