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Bird Mounting 101

Discussion in 'Taxidermy Forum' started by HarlequinTaxidermy, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    Cleburne Texas
    Okay, I think we have a skinning thread, and a wrapping thread, so now I guess we need a mounting thread. Many people have asked a multitude of questions regarding what goes on when actually mounting a bird. Hopefully I can answer some of those questions. I will be starting with a skinned and fleshed bird and going through my regiment of putting it together. Nothing fancy, no competition to go to, just an everyday out the door mount.

    Bear with me as this is going to take several hours to post as it is a series of 75 photos and I will try and explain what I am doing along the way.

    Enjoy!
    Jon


    If you have any additional questions, please contact me... Keep in mind, this is the way I do things... not necessarily the right or wrong way, but it puts a good mount together and out the door.
     
  2. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    Joined:
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    I am starting with a skinned bird. This particular bird will be using a cast head and feet, therefore I have altered the normal skinning process slightly.

    To begin with, I skinned ventrally... then the customer decided he wanted artifical cast feet.. so... I to make things easier on myself.. I decided to change my ventral incision to a dorsal over the back, leg to leg incision. This allows me to completely remove the feet.

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    Breast side

    Considering I already had the bird skinned ventrally, I went ahead and inverted the skin and sewed up my ventral incision from the inside. As you can see, I have a completly inside out bird now with no apparent incision.



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    Same skin only on the back side.. The side now facing me, is the back of the bird.

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    Here I have marked where I will make my dorsal leg to leg incision. You can clearly see the individual feather tracts here, and the lack of feather butts on the back side of the leg back towards the tail. I will follow this natural line to make my incision. The feet have already been removed at the feather line.

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    With a sharpe blade, simply incise across the back of the bird... You should be able to stay inbetween a feather tract across the back. I'm about 1/2 inch above the back of the tail.
     
  3. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cleburne Texas
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    Here is the wet skin after I have rinsed all of the soap completely out and ran hin through the spin cycle on the washing machine. I will now give him a soak in an acetone bath for about 10 minutes and then through the spin cycle again.

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    After he comes out of the spin cycle for the last time, I use a shop vac on reverse and blow dry the skin. This is a critical point as most people don't get their birds feathers dry. By using just forced air, and no heat, I can spend additional time drying the bird. Notice, I did not tumble. If you take your finger and back brush the feathers, you can see if the down is dried. It should be quite fluffly. If your bird is completely dried.. it should already start to take shape and look like a bird long before you ever even put a body inside it.
     
  4. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Cleburne Texas
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    Here we have the parts ready to assemble. I am using a wrapped body, a wrapped neck, a cast head, and cast feet with a wrapped drumstick. The body of this bird was crushed during shipping or with the final kill, and was a loss.. There fore I had to use measurements out of the catalog to aim for the right size body. The drumsticks were a loss as well. Therefore.. I erred on the side of caution and made everything a little smaller than what I felt they should be especially the drumsticks.. I would much rather be too small than too large.

    The neck is wrapped with Braided Nylon cord from Home depot glued around a piece of 14 gu wire. I then wrapped a piece of necking material along the bottom side to make the trachea. I then used yarn to wrap around the base of the neck as this bird had a very thick neck at the base.

    The cast feet have a drumstick wrapped out of tow and secured with string.

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    here you see all the parts assembled minus the head. Notice the drumsticks do look rather small. I have done this intentionally incase I run into any problems poseing the cast feet.
    You can see where the opposide side leg wire has exited the form and has been cinched down. I will cover this with hot glue to ensure that it does not slip out during the mounting process.
     
  5. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    Inserting the form is pretty straight forward.. slide the neck through pull the skin back on the body and whala you have a mounted bird....(well almost)

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    Here he is with the skin over the form.... as you can see I have yet to sew him up.

    To sew up the dorsal leg to leg, I start in the middle above the tail and work towards one leg. the leg skin will wrap around the bottom of the drumstick and then it can be glued down. It is really quite simple, and there is so much fuzz back there that the chances of you seeing a seem are slim to nil. As far as competitions go, How often does a judge look there for a seam??

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    Here he is all sewed up now. Sorry I didn't take pics, but my fingers are so fat, you couldn't see anything anyways.. but its just the same as sewing up a ventral incision.

    Notice How everything is starting to take shape already. This is for the most part due to correct anatomy of the body. The feathers want to lay correctly on their own... with very little adjusting. I went ahead and pinned the wings inplace just to get them out of the way. I will go over that a little later when we get farther along and grooming begins.
     
  6. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    Here is my cast head. I chose to cast it myself using alginate and thinned bondo vs buying one as this speices is very individual in lobe size, To be accurate I chose to do this myself. I have set the eyes already. I am using a size 9mm Dark brown eye. The acutal eye was about 8.5mm.. but a 9mm will work fine. The eyes should be placed even with one another from the top, and most importantly from the front. You can see this in future pics. They should also be angled in towards the front slightly to give the bird frontal vision.

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    here you can see where I have dremeled out the back of the head to accept the neck. My eyes are slightly askew here, so I will need to adjust them properly.

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    In the previous three pics you can see the angle and position I have drilled the hole to accept the neck wire. you can also see where I have scraped the paint away from the edge of the bill to accept the super glue when the face skin gets glued in place.
     
  7. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    now we run our neck wire through the hole and test fit the neck into the back of the skull. If need be, you may have to go back and dremel some more out of the back. You want the back of the neck to be inside the head and flow naturally from the backside of the skull.
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    after making sure it fits properly I hot glue it into place.

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  8. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Cleburne Texas
    [​IMG]
    here you see I have dremeled a slot for the neck wire to bend back into.

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    Here I have clipped the wire and bent it back into the groove. From here on out.. It will take an act of God for this head to fall off. (notice my eyes are still slightly askew.. especially on the right side. They should be symentrical.)
     
  9. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Cleburne Texas
    [​IMG]
    Here you see I have sculpted in the bottom side of the trachea. This will start the curve in the neck which naturally starts to drop directly below the eye.

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    here i have smoothed over the back of the skull/neck juction to just to make sure there or no gaps which can alter how the skin dries later.
     
  10. HarlequinTaxidermy

    HarlequinTaxidermy Elite Refuge Member

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    in the next series of pics i am glueing the skin around the bill. I previously scraped the paint away to make a good place for the glue to adhear to. I start with the top notch and then any key points where I KNOW that the skin was attached. This particular speices has very defined places and markings making this very easy.

    I am using a small dental tool with one side sharpened and the other side ground down into a blunt end. I dip the blunt end into my superglue and use it to place a small bead of glue around the edges of the bill. I then take the pointed end and pull the skin into place. I work in small sections one area at a time until I have glued completely around the entire bill.

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