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NATURE center donating collection to OU

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A collection of about 8,000 bird eggs is about the fly the coop.

The collection donated to the city in 1933 by railroad engineer George Morse has been in storage at Oxley Nature Center. Now the center has decided to give it to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma.

``I suppose we could have put them on public display,'' nature center director Bob Jennings said. ``But how many people would want to come look at a thousand bird eggs?''

The eggs won't go on display at the OU museum. But museum researchers will find the collection useful because Morse kept careful records of the date and location where each egg was found.

Those records reveal what types of birds were known to be living in eastern Oklahoma a century ago. And by comparing that information with today's bird population, researchers should get a glimpse of how the ecosystem has changed.

``These eggs are of considerable historic value,'' said Gary Schnell, the museum's bird curator. ``What we expect to find is that some birds were nesting in areas where they no longer can be found. We'll see how habitats have been shrinking.''
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