The bird collections consist of taxidermy mounts (1035 British, 266 foreign) and study skins (1423 British, 1051 foreign). This is a representative collection of British taxa and the collection is strong in casual visitors and rare species in Tayside. The collection includes specimens of the 1st British record for American Golden Plover and the 1st Scottish record for Black-throated Thrush and Richard’s Pipit. A particular strength are the specimens from Perthshire. These include nineteenth century specimens of red kite and goshawk. In 1970 part of the Drummond Hay collection was purchased (with grant support from the National Fund for Acquisition). Henry Maurice Drummond-Hay (1814-1896) was the 1st President of the British Ornithologists Union. The most important collection is the study skins of John Guille Millais (1865-1931). Millais was a wildfowler, artist, naturalist and author. He wrote a number of monographs on waterfowl and used his collection of skins to illustrate the different plumages.
There are a number of cited or figured specimens including Tengmalm’s owl, red grouse hybrid, “Millais” duck skins, White’s thrush, scops owl, golden oriole, hoopoe, Greenland falcon, sand grouse, wryneck, black-throated thrush, red-backed shrike, king eider, roller, rose-coloured starling, parrot crossbill, shoveler, black grouse, Baikal teal and ivory gull.
The bird collections have been added to by the acquisition of road kills, casualties from window or wire strikes. Ringed birds that have good associated data are a priority for collection, and there are good examples of the work of local and well known taxidermists including Charles Kirk (1872-1922) and George Hart (d.1940?), a taxidermist with the Perth firm of P.D.Malloch.
This is the 5th largest bird collection in Scotland and has been used for scientific research and the collection is regularly used by artists for drawing & sketching.