Feather Expert Roxie Laybourne, 1990, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Feather expert Roxie Laybourne examines one of the many feathers that arrive at her office. Tucked away in a small office in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Laybourne is the world's leading expert on feather identification. She first began work at the Smithsonian in 1944., Roxie C. Laybourne originated the science of forensic ornithology. Often called the "feather detective," Laybourne used feathers to identify bird-strike accidents in military and commercial aircraft, to solve crimes for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to identify feathers unearthed by archeologists, and to recognize species of endangered, poached, or illegally killed birds..