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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Birds

Labrador Duck
Labrador Duck
Christina Gebhard © Smithsonian Institution
bar Image of Carla J. Dove, Program Manager
    Carla J. Dove
    Program Manager

  • Phone: (202) 633-0787
  • Fax: (202)633-8084
  • E-mail: dovec[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Division of Birds
    PO Box 37012, MRC 116
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Division of Birds, E-600, MRC-116
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560
    Call for overnight shipping instructions.

Related Links - More information on Bird Strikes

Bird Strike Committee USA

FAA Airport Wildlife Hazard Mitigation

United States Air Force Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) - military only access

United States Navy Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) - military only access

Bird Strike Identification Media Links


Ph.D., George Mason University (1998)
MSc., George Mason University (1994)
BS., University of Montana (1986)
A.A.S, Lord Fairfax Community College (1983)

Research Interests

Conducts specialized research in the microscopic identification of feathers. Current research involves establishing techniques in this newly developing field within Ornithology, which applies forensic methodologies to determine species of birds from fragmentary evidence using microscopy, whole feather comparisons with museum specimens and DNA 'barcoding'. The most important application of this research is to the field of aviation safety and determining identifications of birds that are ingested into aircraft engines (birdstrikes). See FAA website. Data are used by civil and military aviation to design safer engines and windscreens, to create an Air Force data base that is used to predict bird movements and provide bird hazard warnings to pilots, and to improve habitat management schemes at airfields to discourage bird use. She is a member of Smithsonian Ornithology and collaborates with scientists in the fields of Anthropology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Air Force (BASH), U.S. Navy, U.S. Customs, USDA Wildlife Services, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and aircraft engine manufacturers.

Recent Publications

Dove, Carla J., Saucier, Jacob R., Whatton, J. F., Schmidt, B. and Roble, H. R. 2017. First record of River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis and additional records for Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus and Lesser Masked Weaver Ploceus intermedius in Djibouti. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, 137(1): 67-70.

Dove, Carla J., Milensky, C., Llactahuaman, S. and Thrasher, B. H. 2017. Two Harpy Eagles Harpia harpyja at high elevation in Peru. Cotinga, 40: 98-100.

Heller, Erin L., Kerr, Kevin C. R., Dahlan, Nor F., Dove, Carla J. and Walters, Eric L. 2016. Overcoming challenges to morphological and molecular identification of Empidonax flycatchers: a case study with a Dusky Flycatcher. Journal of Field Ornithology, 87(1): 96-103. doi:10.1111/jofo.12132

Sonsthagen, Sarah A., Wilson, Robert E., Chesser, R. Terry, Pons, Jean-Marc, Crochet, Pierre-Andre, Driskell, Amy C. and Dove, Carla J. 2016. Recurrent hybridization and recent origin obscure phylogenetic relationships within the 'white-headed' gull (Larus sp.) complex. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 103: 41-54. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.06.008

Mazzotti, Frank J., Rochford, Mike, Vinci, Joy, Jeffery, Brian M., Eckles, Jennifer Ketterlin, Dove, Carla and Sommers, Kristen P. 2016. Implications of the 2013 Python Challenge® for Ecology and Management of Python molorus bivittatus (Burmese Python) in Florida. Southeastern Naturalist, 15: 63-74. doi:10.1656/058.015.sp807

Chang, Brian, Croson, Matthew, Straker, Lorian, Gart, Sean, Dove, Carla, Gerwin, John and Jung, Sunghwan 2016. How seabirds plunge-dive without injuries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(43): 12006-12011. doi:10.1073/pnas.1608628113

Dove, Carla J. and Wickler, Stephen 2016. Identification of Bird Species Used to Make a Viking Age Feather Pillow. Arctic, 69(1): 29-36. doi:10.14430/arctic4546

Dove, Carla J. and Coddington, Charles P. J. 2015. Forensic Techniques Identify the First Record of Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) Feeding on a Razorbill (Alca torda). Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 127(3): 503-506. doi:10.1676/14-176.1

Hubbard, John P. and Dove, Carla J. 2014. A proposed emendation of the Gray Flycatcher's type locality and formal designation of its lectotype. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Southwestern Biology, 11: 1-7.

Thomas, Daniel B., Nascimbene, Paul C., Dove, Carla J., Grimaldi, David A. and James, Helen F. 2014. Seeking carotenoid pigments in amber-preserved fossil feathers. Scientific Reports, 4 doi:10.1038/srep05226

Pons, J. M., Sonsthagen, S., Dove, Carla J. and Crochet, P. A. 2014. Extensive mitochondrial introgression in North American Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus) from the American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) with little nuclear DNA impact. Heredity, 112(3): 226-239. doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.98

Complete List of Dove's Publications and Downloadable PDFs

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