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Rose Hall of Birds

Let your mind take flight

Create your own virtual species of bird as you explore the adaptations that help birds thrive in diverse environments.

Is that a dinosaur at your bird feeder? Come and explore fossil specimens, compare footprints and weigh the evidence to discover the astonishing links between prehistoric dinosaurs and modern-day birds.


Even though dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex and Alamosaurus have faded into extinction, birds have adapted to survive. Here in the Rose Hall of Birds, you’ll learn how different adaptations affect everything from flight patterns to mating rituals. You’ll even have the chance to put your newfound insights to the test as you create, name and release your own virtual species of bird! Join us for an interactive discovery of:

Flight and Feeding Adaptations

Most birds fly, and all birds eat — but the flight patterns and eating habits of a hummingbird are a lot different than those of a vulture! Explore flight and feeding adaptations through:

  • Magnified samples of specialized features that sustain flight
  • Slow-motion footage of birds in flight
  • A full-body flight simulator that lets you take to the air as a bird avatar
  • Our Hawk Vision Viewer, which simulates the way hawks identify prey
  • Manipulation of beak-like tools to pick up various objects representing different foods

Social Behavior

When it comes to attracting a mate and communicating with one another, birds have some of the most colorful, humorous and beautiful approaches in the animal kingdom. This exhibit area gives you the opportunity to:

  • Watch real-life footage of the ornate plumage, intricate courtship dances and distinctive mating calls used by different birds
  • Compare nest and egg specimens to appreciate the beautiful and surprising variations
  • Create your own unique song at our Birdsong Mashup station
  • Flip through digital highlights of rare works from our renowned Edmund W. Mudge, Jr., Library of Ornithology