Research Collections

WFVZ Information Sharing collections teachingThe WFVZ houses more than four hundred individual collections, totalling more than a million specimens. Foundation staff continually strive to locate and acquire scientifically valuable avian specimens for the Foundation's research and teaching collections. For example, the Foundation has been a repository for donations of institutional egg collections, resulting in a large number of egg sets in North American museum collections being donated to the WFVZ since the 1970s.

The primary sources for specimens currently are wildlife rehabilitation organizations; car, cat, and window-killed birds; wildlife research agencies and organizations; and the Foundation’s own field research projects. Materials are consistently acquired by the Western Foundation and used by researchers, educators, scientific artists, and other museums. In addition, materials are used in educational tours and presentations for the general public, both at the Foundation and at outside events. All materials are actively maintained to be free of parasites and dust, so that the items can be available for research and education purposes in perpetuity.

If you would like to help us maintain the collections of the WFVZ, see our Volunteer page.  If you are interested in donating specimens to the Western Foundation, please contact us for more information before such a donation.

We provide data from our collection materials (skins, eggs, nests) in either electronic format or as photocopies to researchers, and we make loans of study skins within the U.S. (see our Loan Policy). We also provide photocopies of journal articles in our library (see our Journal List). We encourage researchers to visit the Foundation to examine specimens, photocopy records, and use our library resources (see WFVZ Publication Information). We will also send articles by mail or, in some cases, by PDF (see our Newsletter). To be sure that someone will be available to assist you, please give us at least 48 hours notice before you visit the Foundation to use the collection materials.

Most data requests (i.e., for electronic summaries of computerized data, photocopies of paper records and journal articles) are fulfilled at no charge to researchers. However, for articles of significant length, we do request reimbursement for photocopying and shipping expenses. In addition, there are fees for a significant number of egg measurements and for new digital images of specimens; please call or e-mail us for details. For a complete list of services offered to researchers, Click Here.

The WFVZ is collaborating with 40 other museums in the U.S. so that our data available via the Internet. To search our computerized data electronically, please visit the VERTNET portal at

Check our Databases online here too! WFVZ Collections

The WFVZ holds and maintains the records of the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC), a subcommittee of Western Field Ornithologists. This committee is responsible for deciding about the occurrence of rare birds in California, and thus, which birds make it onto our state list. They also help increase knowledge of the birds of California and establish standards of observation and reporting against which field observers may compare their own techniques. For more information about the CBRC, please contact them at To request photocopies of CBRC materials, please contact the WFVZ or the CBRC website.

WFVZ Information Sharing