If you are going to make a hunting bird I would rethink that, that brings a whole bunch of problems for an experienced carver much less a new one. I would plan on making a smooth hunting bird. I have been carving for 35 years and have never attempted to carved feathers. “slick” birds are all I have ever done. If you are familiar with “The Peter Principle”, that’s where I am at and totally recognize that fact. I think your bird is salvageable, I would use a handsaw and work on the area in back of the head, you will be able to gain that “roundness” everyone is seeking. Cut it at an angle from the back to the head. If you and Swamplv, Tom can get together would benefit greatly. Tom is a World Class carver and painter. I would finish your bird even though to you it is a clunker, there have been millions of ducks killed over worse birds than yours. I have collected antique decoys for almost 40 years and know of which I speak. It appears that your body is red cedar, if you use oil paint you are going to have to seal the hell out of it or the resin in the wood will make your oil paint not stick. I would plan on using latex paint. If you were to quit carving it now and paint it I will guarantee that it will not scare the ducks and that they would toll to it. Good luck and keep us tuned in.