Bird Hall at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Owl-some Birds at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

From Bird Hall on the museum’s third floor to Powdermill Nature Reserve (the museum’s environmental research center) in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands region, birds are fan favorites throughout the museum’s locations. Taxidermy mounts, study skins, replicas, and live birds fascinate visitors of all ages. Plan visits to Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Powdermill Nature Reserve to see them yourself. 

Northern saw-whet owl at Powdermill Nature Reserve
Northern saw-whet owl at Powdermill Nature Reserve

Birds Are Living Dinosaurs

Modern birds are an evolutionary subset of theropod dinosaurs – the group that includes Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. Theropods and modern birds have hollow bones, feathers, and more similarities. The study of birds can help paleontologists make hypotheses on how dinosaurs lived. Discover connections between the fossils in Dinosaurs in Their Time and the taxidermy specimens in Bird Hall when you visit the museum.

See Extinct Birds

How big was the dodo? Did passenger pigeons look like pigeons we see today? Natural history museums keep extinct species in their care to teach about the past and inspire people to take an interest in conserving birds under threat of extinction. The Section of Birds keeps around 195 specimens of extinct birds, a small but essential part of the 190,000-specimen collection. See some of them in the Endangered and Extinct Species display in Bird Hall

Dodo bird replica in Bird Hall

Look for Birds in Wildlife Dioramas

Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Halls of Wildlife stand out for their dramatic, scientifically accurate dioramas. Look beyond the large mammals to find plants, insects, reptiles, birds, and more. Spot a glaucous-winged gull and belted kingfisher in the Alaskan Brown Bears exhibit. On the first floor, see birds as the stars of habitat dioramas in the exhibition Art of the Diorama.

Art of the Diorama at Carnegie Museum of Natural History | Credit: Harry Giglio

Live Birds at the Museum

The museum is home to more than a dozen Animal Ambassadors, also known as members of the Living Collection, including mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds! Rescue birds Mango, a sun conure, and She-Ra, an American kestrel, appear at daily Live Animal Encounters. Every Live Animal Encounter is unique, and you might see one or both these birds during your visit. 

Mango, a sun conure, during a Live Animal Encounter

Visit Powdermill Nature Reserve

About an hour outside Pittsburgh, the museum’s environmental research center makes a great day trip for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. Hike the woodland trails, explore the gardens, and stop inside the Nature Center to see exhibits that highlight local wildlife. Time your visit with one of Powdermill’s events to learn from staff experts. Family-friendly nature walks, guided birding experiences (including classes and an annual fall owl-themed evening), and opportunities to see bird banding in action are just a few of the events on their calendar

Eastern Screech Owl at Powdermill Nature Reserve