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Kestrel Falco tinnunculus mounted by Sheals taxidermist BelfastThe bird collection contains around 4,000 mounted birds, 2,000 cabinet skins and over 5,000 clutches of birds’ eggs. Most of the specimens are from Britain and Ireland.

More than 900 of the mounted birds were prepared by the Belfast taxidermy firm Sheals, established in 1856 by James Sheals who was later joined in the family business by his two sons, Alfred and Thomas. The Sheals family produced some of the finest mounted birds and mammals in the world at that time.
The collection includes a number of mounted birds collected in the early 1800s by the famous Irish naturalist, William Thompson. Many of the birds are first recorded Irish specimens of American vagrant species, that is, species found well outside their normal home environment.
Image: Kestrel Falco tinnunculus mounted by Sheals (click image to enlarge)
The Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society Collection contains some of the oldest bird skins in the Museum. These specimens were collected between 1840 and 1900 in the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, India and Africa by early Irish naturalists such as George Crawford Hyndman, Robert Templeton and Robert Patterson.

Lammergeier Lammergeier
This magnificent specimen, mounted attacking a wildcat, is on display in Window on Our World (Nature Zone).It was prepared by the world famous Belfast firm of taxidermists, James Sheals, in the early 1900s and won a gold medal at an exhibition of taxidermy in Cairo, Egypt, in 1935. Image: La...