Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology – Camarillo, California - Atlas Obscura
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Camarillo, California

Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology

Over one million bird-related artifacts await. 

Nestled in an industrial area of Camarillo, California is a center which houses one of the largest collections of all things avian the world over.

Though its name suggests the study of any creatures with backbones, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology is all about birds. Its gigantic collections of mounted specimens, nests, eggs, etc. are used to help researchers with projects. However, in order to promote bird knowledge and conservation, the foundation has opened its doors to civilians, artists and academics.

A walk through the foundation’s collection is well worth the $5 admission, if not a little eerie. Photographs of the hall in which the specimens are displayed appear full of life and activity, yet in actuality it’s still and quiet like a library. The thousands of formerly living, now stuffed birds are frozen in every avian activity one can think of. Some preen their feathers, some nest beneath their wings, and some are, of course, suspended in flight. Still others, perched atop branches, seem to watch you with unblinking glass eyes as learn about their still-living brethren.

Know Before You Go

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology can be visited by non-researcher on monthly open house days throughout the year, by appointment, or during Audobon Society meetings.