It's a rare occasion that you get very up close and personal with birds. They're not the cuddly, curious sort. If you spot one and they spot you, they generally fly away.
So usually the only way you get to examine their plumage or admire their wingspan is post-mortem, after they've been skinned, stuffed, and tagged.
Male juvenile red-tailed hawk
Male (L) versus female (R) red-tailed hawks
Eurasian (Japanese) Jay Garrulus glandarius japonicus
But at the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology...
These birds are posed in action!
American Barn Owl / Tyto a pratincola
They have personality!
Mandarin duck / Aix galericulata (female)
Greater roadrunner / Geococcyx Californians
They are posing...
Red-billed tropicbird / Phaeton aethereus
Rose-winged parakeet / Psittacula krameri
Some are even a bit imposing...
Ferruginous hawk / Buteo regalis (female)
White-headed Buffalo Weaver / Dinemellia dinemellia (male)
Common scaly thrush / Zoothera dauma
It's as though they're frozen in time, exhibiting their most characteristic qualities, unfazed by the rotating cast of scientists, researchers, and visitors who come and go.
That is some good taxidermy.
Stay tuned for more on the WFVZ's massive collection of eggs (not just from birds!) and bird nests.
Photo Essay: Moore Laboratory of Zoology, Closed to Public