Although the oldest preparation in the Collection of Birds derives from 1867, the first vigorous approach to collection came during the time of Baldo Kosić (1829-1918), who prepared an almost complete collection of birds from the Dubrovnik region. Over the years, as a result of the many moves the Museum had to endure, a part of Kosić’s collection deteriorated. When a new preparator, Andrija Lesinger, arrived in 1960, the length and sensitive procedure of salvaging the remains of Kosić’s collection of birds began. Lesinger also started collecting new scientific and exhibition collections made in the form of dioramas. The earthquake of 1979 considerably damaged the Museum’s building, which had to close. Not long after that, when the preparator went into retirement, the museum found itself without a professional staff.
To date about 1051 museum objects in the Bird Collection have been preserved. The collection has 246 species of birds from the fauna of Croatia. They are categorised into 18 orders, the most numerous of which is the Passeriformes, with 106 species and 528 specimens. Also well represented are the orders of the Charadriformes and the Falconiformes. Among the species in the Collection, 79 of them are on the Red List and 48 in the Red Book of Endangered Birds of Croatia. Among birds currently extinct in Croatia is the Pharaoh’s chicken, Neophron percnopterus, which nested in Croatia until the early 1980s, the great bustard, Otis tarda, which regularly overwintered in the Croatian coastal region at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, as well as the black and white northern Atlantic auk, Alca torda, recorded for the last time in 1909. Among species that are particularly noteworthy for the Dubrovnik area the critically endangered Accipiter brevipes, Levant sparrow hawk, deserves particular mention, nesting in Croatia only in the Konavle area, and the white Tachymarptis melba or Alpine swift, which is actually in Croatia most abundant in Dubrovnik.