Roxie Laybourne and Carla Dove Holding Remains from a Bird strike

image for Roxie Laybourne and Carla Dove Holding Remains from a Bird strike
Historic Images of the Smithsonian
With Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore's encouragement, Laybourne accepted a short-term appointment in 1944 in the Bird Division at the National Museum of Natural History, working with taxidermist Watson Perrygo and curator Herbert Friedmann. Known as the "Feather Lady," Laybourne pioneered the field of forensic ornithology at the Smithsonian Institution by studying the detailed microscopic structure of plumulaceous (downy) feather barbules and creating a technique of identifying species of birds from fragmentary feather samples. Her methods revolutionized aviation safety by creating a technique of identifying birds involved in aircraft bird strikes. That work led to the development of the first laboratory in the world dedicated solely to feather identification. The methods she developed are now routinely applied to studies of prey remains, evidence from criminal cases, and anthropological artifacts.
For more images of Roxie Laybourne, see SIA2009-2205, SIA2010-0575, SIA2010-0580, SIA2010-0639, SIA2014-07398, SIA2014-07403, SIA2014-07404, SIA2014-07405, SIA2014-07406, SIA2014-07407, SIA2014-07411, SIA2014-07413, SIA2014-07417, SIA2014-07421, SIA2014-07431, SIA2014-07434, SIA2014-07441, SIA2014-07442, and SIA2014-07448.
Carla Dove (left) and Roxie Laybourne (right) smile at the camera while behind a counter in the Bird Division of the National Museum of Natural History. Carla is holding remains of a bird and has one arm around Roxie's shoulders. Roxie is holding the skin of a bird with its one wing outstretched. On the counter in front of them is a vulture skin along with a box of feathers and bird remains.
Contained within
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 04-086, Box 2, Folder 5
Contact information
Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,
Restrictions & Rights
No restrictions
September 1996
Standard number
Laybourne, Roxie C. 1910-2003
Dove, Carla J
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Division of Birds
Forensic sciences
Aircraft bird strikes
Smithsonian Institution--Employees
Zoological specimens--Collection and preservation
Physical description
Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 6w x 4h; Type of Image: Group, candid; Medium: Photographic print
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Photographic print
Group, candid