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To contribute to the study, knowledge, and conservation of the world’s wild bird species through biodiversity activities involving our bird collections, education programs, field research projects, and publications.
The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) was originally founded as a 501(c)(3) in 1956 and is located in Ventura County. The core of the institution is a natural history museum dedicated to birds that also has a mission to educate the public and to conduct research studies on imperiled bird species. The museum holds more than 275,000 sets of birds’ eggs dating from the early 1800s to the present, 20,000 birds’ nests, and more than 57,000 bird mounts and study skins. It is the largest egg collection in the United States, and it and the British Museum of Natural History have the two largest egg collections in the world. The egg collection serves as a national repository for bird egg materials in the United States. The nest collection is the largest in the world. More than 4,000 research projects have been conducted on our materials, and these have enhanced scientists’ understanding of bird breeding, ecology, contaminants, genetics, and taxonomy, and have directly led to the recovery of many species (e.g., Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, and Brown Pelican, to name a few). The collections and their data also are invaluable to educators, students, and the public, and have now been used in classes and tours for thousands of visitors.