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Catalog Data

Unknown  Search this
Laybourne, Roxie C. 1910-2003  Search this
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Division of Birds  Search this
Physical description:
Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 5w x 3h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print
Photographic print
Person, candid
United States
c. 1980s
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 plumaceous (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.
Roxie Laybourne was an American ornithologist known for her ability to identify species of birds involved in bird strikes. She is pictured bent over at a counter in the Bird Division at the National Museum of Natural History examining material from an aircraft part. There are two glass vials with rubber stoppers, a metal box, and a piece of an aircraft on the counter.
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,
Biology  Search this
Scientific apparatus and instruments  Search this
Forensic sciences  Search this
Research--Equipment and supplies  Search this
Birds--Behavior  Search this
Ornithology  Search this
Women  Search this
Aircraft accidents--Investigation  Search this
Airports--Bird control  Search this
Aeronautics--Safety measures  Search this
Feathers  Search this
Birds--Anatomy  Search this
Aircraft bird strikes  Search this
Aircraft accidents  Search this
Smithsonian Institution--Employees  Search this
Forensic scientists  Search this
Birds  Search this
Ornithologists  Search this
Aircraft engines  Search this
Standard number:
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No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div