With all the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth this year, we thought it might be interesting to take a modern look at one of his model organisms: the Galapagos finches first described during his voyage on The Beagle in 1835. Today, these birds continue to be an important source of information on speciation, niche partitioning, morphological adaptation and species ecology. In the March issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, Harvard University’s Arhat Abzhanov has written a primer on Darwin’s Finches: Analysis of Beak Morphological Changes During Evolution, which gives detailed background information on the use of the finch as a model system. He has also provided protocols for collection of embryos, in situ hybridization and microarray analysis.