The Moore Lab of Zoology – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

The Moore Lab of Zoology

One of the world's largest collections of rare and magnificent bird specimens. 


Despite his family being in the business of fur, Robert T. Moore preferred feathers, and became one of the more well-known conservationists and ornithologists of the early 20th century. 

Moore was a bird lover beginning at a very young age. He traveled across North and South America to study, observe, and document these creatures that endlessly fascinated him, and he is credited with discovering at least four new species, amassing in the process one of largest collections of birds in the world. His collection contains an incredible 60,000 different specimens, including the tufted jay, the masked mountain-tanager, the maroon-fronted parrot, and the Balsas screech-owl. 

In 1950, Moore decided to give his collection to Occidental College in Los Angeles. He constructed the building it was to be housed in, now known as the Moore Lab of Zoology, and gave an endowment ensuring the maintenance, upkeep, and further studying of his massive collection. In 1952, the Moore Lab of Zoology was dedicated. Moore passed away six years later knowing that his love of birds would carry on to the next generation. 

Today, the building still stands and the collection is still growing. Now at 64,121 specimens, it is among the world’s largest research natural history collections. Birds that have been extinct for years, like the world’s largest woodpecker, are preserved here, ensuring that amateur ornithologists, like Robert Moore himself, will be able to enjoy and study these birds for years to come. 

Know Before You Go

Located in Eagle Rock and near the 2 - Glendale Blvd.

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