Full bird skull by hand
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Taxidermy Discussion Categories  |  Skulls and Skeletons  |  Topic: Full bird skull by hand « previous next »
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Jean-Christophe
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« on: January 12, 2011, 06:20:58 PM »

Hi,
Here I will try to explain how to do a complete bird skull without dermested beetle. What I call a complete bird skull is : the skull + sclerotic rings + hyoid apparatus. I have also seen some birds skeletons with their trachea too because its bones.
For bird skeleton look at this : http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,233432.0.html

I take example with chicken, rooster, turkey and probably guinea-fowl heads too. The photos showing the process can not represent the same skull/species but its the same method. This is because I havent thought to take all the pictures in order.

First thing is removed the neck and the skin.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 06:21:52 PM »

Get bird sclerotic rings
1 Remove the eye and the nictitating membrane.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2011, 06:23:25 PM »

2 - I use dissection scissors to cut the eye in 2 parts like an orange. A black liquid will get out so dont press it to much if you dont want being sprinkled. Remove the posterior part of the eye with retina, optic nerve, iris and lens.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 06:24:08 PM »

3 - Cut with scissors what remains of the retina (black part over the ring).
There are 2 membranes, 1 on each side of the sclerotic ring, which you have to remove. I just scrape with my nail for that. If its too hard (depends much of the specimen), thats not a problem, let it for the moment.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2011, 06:24:51 PM »

4 - Cut with scissors the cornea. Be aware that its a very strong tissue so take care of the bones doing this.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2011, 06:26:20 PM »

5 - Put the sclerotic rings in acetone for 2 weeks to a month to be sure they are degreased.  No risk it falls apart.

6 - Remove acetone and put the rings in H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) 10 volume (3%) for 1 or 2 days. If its degreased no need of strong peroxide.

7 - Remove H2O2 and let it dry. Goes fast for me.

8 Once its completely dried, remove the remaining tissues with a small drill. It is the hardest steps.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2011, 06:26:58 PM »

9 Put some glue behind the sclerotic ring to make it stronger.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2011, 06:28:15 PM »

Get bird hyoidal apparatus

This is the tongue bones and bony/cartilaginous prolongations behind the skull.
It is composed of 7 segments. They are ossifying with age.

1 Remove the tongue carefully.
2 Remove the meat with scissors and knife (or scalpel). Begin with scissors and finish with knife scraping meat. It can be a bit longue but the result is better than if you macerate it because of the cartilaginous part between bones and prolonging them.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2011, 06:29:30 PM »

3 Soak in acetone 2 weeks to a month.
4 Soak in H2O2 1 or 2 days.
5 Dry. The cartilaginous part always wants to curl thus supervise it regularly.
6 Reconstruct it.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2011, 06:31:04 PM »

7 - Glue back in its place.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2011, 06:32:02 PM »

other view.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2011, 06:34:12 PM »

Cleaning bird skull
I use maceration, H2O2 and acetone. It takes about 3 weeks to a month before I am happy with it.
2 days of maceration with saliva (for bacteria) remove almost all tissues but I macerate till the water remains clean for 1 or 2 days.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 06:35:02 PM »

Bird skull reconstruction

Once the bones are clean you can start reconstruction.
The birds here are not too old so the bones arent fused yet. A lot of birds have their skull in 5 pieces: the skull, 2 quadrate bones and 2 pterigoids bones but some species will never have their skull fused with age.
I found this image to help with names of bird skull bones.

Will show a reconstruction steps by steps if wanted.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 06:36:17 PM »

Here a helpful picture for bones ID.


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Jean-Christophe
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 06:39:05 PM »

The result !!


* Gallus gallus 3.JPG (78.38 kB, 800x398 - viewed 3539 times.)
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