Visitors to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Education Center and Museum will see a lot of new mounted displays in the bird room thanks to a generous donation from a Hutchinson man.
Duane Brown, of South Hutchinson, has donated almost his entire mounted collection of water birds for display in the bird room at the museum, said Chris Shrack, education information representative.
Shrack was pleasantly surprised when Brown called him out of the blue earlier this year and told him he wanted to donate his collection.
"I was excited," Shrack said. "This would give me a chance to replace some of my older mounts."
Many of the exhibits in the museum are decades old and the bird exhibits are no exception. Some of those exhibits back to the 1940s.
Some of the donated birds are almost that old as well. Ten of the birds range from 30 to 35 years old but the rest are from 10 to 20 years old with a few taken three or four years ago.
Brown is an avid hunter and has hunting leases south of Burrton one at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge that he has maintained for 42 years. Most of the birds were taken at Quivira. He chose waterfowl because the diversity of species always made hunting interesting.
After he retired he would go hunting four or five times a week so he had a wide variety of birds to donate.
Years ago he and his wife determined that when one of them died the other would donate the birds to KDWPT. After his wife died last spring, Brown determined to make good on that decision.
"I wanted them (birds) to stay in Kansas. The (KDWPT) headquarters was the most likely place to enjoy them," said Brown who had all his birds mounted by other people.
The birds arrived in February and since then Shrack has been busy deciding where to put the displays and what older displays to move to other locations in the museum including the dioramas in the aquarium room.
When the new birds arrived, Shrack was even happier when he discovered that nearly every on of the birds was one he didn't have.
Some of the new birds include ringneck ducks, northern pintails, common golden eye and hooded merganser.
Several of the mounts are in a flying position and they have already been mounted on the walls in the bird room. Others have been placed in display cases and their display setup is almost complete.
A story about the donation appeared in the Kansas Wildlife and Parks magazine and has caused a lot of curiosity. Museum visitation is up and many of those visitors want to know where the new birds are located.
All these birds are associated with Kansas. They either nest here or stop in Kansas during their regular migratory routes, Shrack said.
Quivira is a national wildlife refuge and is located six miles north of Stafford on U.S. 281 then six miles east.