Peregrin Falcons from the Donald Bowman bird collection. Photo by Neal Johnson

Donald E. Bowman Bird Collection

The Donald E. Bowman bird collection is one of the premier bird collections in the world. This incredible collection contains 405 superbly prepared specimens poised in natural positions that appear perfect to the critic’s eye. The Welder Wildlife Foundation currently houses 300 of these birds and will receive the remainder over the next few years.


The collection contains specimens of most of the waterfowl of North America and many North American raptor, quail and grouse species. It also contains specimens from throughout the world. The collection represents 170 species from 25 bird families and 92 genera. It also contains specimens of two extinct bird species: the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) and heath hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido), considered a race of the greater prairie-chicken. The Bowman collection also contains authentically reconstructed specimens of other extinct species: the Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labraddorius), great auk (Pinguinus impennis), pink-headed duck (Rhodonesssa caryophylacea), and Korean crested shellduck (Tadorina cristata).


Don Bowman is a retired research chemist who has made a lifetime hobby of mounting birds he collected in his travels of North America and offshore islands. Mr. Bowman is considered one of the top ten bird taxidermists in the world. He and his wife, Carolyn, are retired and reside in West Pueblo, Colorado. 


The majority of birds in his collection were donated to the Welder Wildlife Foundation in March 2003. The Smithsonian Museum was interested in obtaining the collection, but Mr. Bowman preferred to donate to the Welder Foundation. When asked why he wanted his collection to go to the Welder Foundation instead of the Smithsonian his reply was, “If I give it to the Smithsonian, it will be placed in some storeroom and will never see the light of day. If I give it to the Welder Foundation, it will be proudly and properly displayed so the public can see it.” The Foundation's capital campaign to build a new Education Facility will ensure the entire Bowman collection can be enjoyed by the public.


Don Bowman’s technique is featured in professional bird taxidermy publications and is used by many taxidermists, including the internationally renowned Jonas Bros of Denver, Colorado.