Roxie Laybourne Testing Materials from Aircraft Part

ID: SIA2014-07403

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Classification

Date: c. 1980s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 04-086, Box 2, Folder: 5

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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.


  • Laybourne, Roxie C. 1910-2003
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Division of Birds


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.

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,


c. 1980s

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Women
  • Airplanes
  • Aeronautics
  • Safety measures
  • Aircraft industry
  • Forensic scientists
  • Birds
  • Airports
  • Employees
  • Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Bird control
  • Feathers
  • Animals
  • Equipment
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Animal behavior
  • Aircraft bird strikes
  • Forensic sciences
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Research--Equipment and supplies
  • Birds--Behavior
  • Ornithology
  • Aircraft accidents--Investigation
  • Airports--Bird control
  • Aeronautics--Safety measures
  • Birds--Anatomy
  • Aircraft accidents
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • Ornithologists
  • Aircraft engines


United States


  • Classification
  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 5w x 3h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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