Yellow Headed Blackbird

Several hundred taxidermied specimens are the legacy of the missionary tradition in the early years of Amherst College. Birds comprise the largest portion of this collection, followed by North American mammals. Most specimens have been stuffed and mounted in a fixed position. About thirty species of birds from the Indian subcontinent—many collected in the late 19th century—are present. Endangered or threatened species include the roan antelope, slender loris, southern crowned-pigeon, spotted turtle, tarsier, tree shrew, and wood turtle. Extinct species include the Eskimo curlew, ivory-billed woodpecker, and passenger pigeon. A notable feature of the collection is a lot of approximately forty birds (about twenty five species) from the estate of John James Audubon, donated by E.E. Farman (class of 1855) in 1884.

In the past, many taxidermied skins were treated with pesticides containing toxic arsenic and mercury. For this reason, reseach access to this collection is restricted.