WEBCAST: Forensic Ornithology- Bird Detective

Watch the archive of the webcast featuring Dr. Carla Dove. In the show, Carla reveals what bird remains can tell you about airplane strikes.

SmithsonianScience How: Forensic Ornithology - Bird Detective

Featuring Ornithologist Carla Dove

Dr. Carla Dove is an Ornithologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Join her in analyzing the remains of birds from airplane strikes and other events. See how she and her team use various types of evidence to identify the birds. Marvel at how modern techniques such as DNA barcoding can complement old-fashioned comparisons of feathers. Consider what bird remains tell you about populations of birds over time. Learn how Carla and her team are making your flights safer while also improving management of natural populations of birds.

Watch a recording of the February 12, 2014, webcast above. The show aligns with national science standards.

Carla's Answers to Student Questions

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video 

2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Forensic Ornithology - Bird Detective Webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems
  • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services

MS-ETS-1 Engineering Design

  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem
  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success