The Cowan Tetrapod Collection avian holdings of 1,803 species represent 160 families is comprised of over 16,500 study skins, 820 skeletons, 600 mounts, and 7,735 egg clutches. The oldest specimens date from the late 1840s and several extinct taxa are represented. Global in scope, the collection is especially strong in specimens collected from Western Canada
(especially Ilsas Tres Marias), and the former Transvaal region of South Africa
. The collection was founded by Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan and his father-in-law Kenneth Racey. Notable collections include those of H.R. Macmillan, W.S. Maguire, A.C. Brooks, and W.J. Plowden-Wardlaw. The avian collection is housed at the University of British Columbia Beaty Biodiversity Museum which contains approximately 2 million natural history specimens.