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Beginners, Training & Tutorials => Tutorials => Topic started by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 02:44:06 PM

Title: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 02:44:06 PM
Well, between taking in several severely pinned up Sage Grouse this week and the normal phone calls and emails this time of year concerning how best to handle a pin-feathered bird I decided to get this tutorial done before the season goes into full swing.
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The Bird for this on-line seminar will be the notoriously pin-feathered Tree Duck!  I think most would agree that if a client brings in a fairly common specimen that is found to have pin feathers the best practice would be to recommend that they harvest another bird so that they can get the best mount possible back. However, what if the bird has a special significance to the client?  What about the tree duck shot by an out of state hunter on his once-in-a-lifetime trip?  In cases like these you may have little choice but to mount it up.  Should that be the case, consult with the client and make sure that you set the proper expectation concerning the final mount and the issues that pin feathers can create in a mount.

The first pics here show the outer inspection of the skin that reveals pin feathers in virtually every feather tract of the bird.

Scap Area:(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1308_zps94ba3fcc.jpg)

Side Pockets:  (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1309_zps2bd7dfb1.jpg)

Tail: (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1311_zps53fb1c9d.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 02:47:27 PM
Once the bird has been skinned you can get a good idea of how badly pinned-up the bird is from the inner inspection.

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1303_zpsfaddf631.jpg)

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1304_zps64081842.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 02:52:58 PM
So, TIP #1 is to SLOW DOWN on the wheeling process.  Use scissors and gently wheel the bird so that you can get the skin free of fat, but so that you don't force or pull out pin feathers that will tend to stay in through the mounting process.
Here is the skin, once it has been fluffed up after being removed from a very gentle bath process. 
 (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1307_zps5313edfc.jpg)

TIP #2 is to decide, based on where all the pin feathers are - on WHAT POSE WOULD BE BEST for the particular bird.  Some will make better flying mounts and some will make better standing mounts.  No matter fly or stand, you should be deciding ahead of time what the "SHOW SIDE" will be for your mount.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:04:25 PM
Tip #3 is utilizing your blower to expose all the pin feathers that you SHOULD REMOVE manually with tweezers BEFORE mounting the bird.

This picture is of the scaps where a whole group of pin feathers was removed.  Note however the "half" feather that has been left in tact.
  (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1312_zps30d27388.jpg)

Tip #4 - Choose which pin feathers to pull out and conversely those that you will LEAVE IN.  The picture below is an example of both:  The one on the LEFT I will LEAVE IN the mount (although it may come out by itself during drying or when grooming later, it may prove useful for hiding "holes" left by other pin feathers that fell out when doing final grooming later.   The one on the Right is a "must pull" in our shop. It will cause you headaches later when trying to groom the bird so remember to take all of these types of feathers out before assembling the bird.
   (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1313_zps11900cbc.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:11:43 PM
Here is a picture of just some of the pin feathers that fell out by themselves during skinning, washing or blowing or those that where manually removed.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1314_zpsf92fd91a.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:16:33 PM
Tip #5 - Dry, Dry, Dry the DOWN of pin feathered birds until it is fluffy.  Based on the feather loss of these birds, they will dry "hard", so you MUST have all the down fluffed to help soften the final mount.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1315_zps7a1be528.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:19:29 PM
Here is the skin after manually removing pin feathers, fluffing and table grooming.  Note the amount of scap feathers that have been lost on the bird's left shoulder.  This fact helped to dictate 2 things:  That the bird would be mounted on the wall and that the right side would be the SHOW SIDE.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1316_zpsdc4621fe.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:24:37 PM
Tip #6 -  GO SMALLER!  What this means is that you should be using a slightly smaller BODY and NECK when mounting a pin feathered bird.  This will allow the feathers that are there to fall together and shingle easier as well as allow you to CAULK the entire body, giving you something to set your pin feathers in. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when dealing with a pin feathered bird is to use a body that "fits" or worse yet, that is too big. This bird measured and sketched out at a 9" Girth, but was mounted on an altered 8.5" body.
    (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1318_zpsee571992.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:28:40 PM
Tip #7 - Don't touch the bird unless you have to and groom GENTLY...feathers can and will still come out!  Here is a picture of the initial set up of the bird. I have hot dogs for fingers...if I can handle a bird gently then YOU CAN TOO. ;D

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1319_zps48b1933f.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:32:32 PM
Tip #8 - Be very careful when installing the head and touching the skin on the head and neck.  You can be this far along and still ruin your mount by simply touching these areas and watching hundreds of the smallest feathers on the bird fall out.  USE tweezers and pins to taxi this skin and install the head.

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1322_zpsf2c8a5c4.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:38:59 PM
Tip #9 - Collapse feather groups if you need to.  We all like to "flare" feathers and show them off on nice birds, but pin feathered birds are different and you will find yourself "closing" feathers to make them look nicer.  If you recall the initial picture of the tail it had feathers missing and 2 very bad pins that had to be removed. The solution here is to collapse the tail and caulk it in place.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1320_zps9332b7f3.jpg)
Here is the tail after taping into place....note the brooming on the center tail feather....by covering it with the wing primaries, it goes away.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1321_zps4b9829f2.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:43:40 PM
Tip #10 - Use Caulk in the areas that call for it.  Whenever I have a student come back for advanced schooling and we get into how to best utilize caulk, it never fails, they use caulk everywhere even when it isn't called for and mess up several mounts before realizing that sometimes "less is more."  With that said, here is a picture of the scap area.  I will cut a hole where my thumb is and inject a golf-ball size of caulking so I can position and groom the pin feathered shoulder area more efficiently.
    (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1324_zps6b326ec3.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 12, 2013, 03:51:45 PM
And finally, the finished mount on the stand to dry.
TIP #11 - Groom quickly, carefully and don't "pull hard" on any feather. The longer you wait, the more feathers you will pull out when grooming. Get it done and KNOW WHEN TO QUIT

In this picture you can see where I have moved feathers from Right, Left, Up or Down to cover up the voids that are all over this bird, especially around the scaps.  While many of the feathers on this bird are in no way, shape or form where they are supposed to be, in the case of pin feathered birds many times you will have to position feathers so that you can create an illusion to get the softest mount possible.  I timed myself while grooming this bird and when the first feather pulled out, I stopped right at 12 minutes.
 (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/SeaDucks/1403_zpsafa0b7d4.jpg)

TIP #12 - One last tip concerning STANDING poses on pin feathered birds:  Depending on the condition of the SIDE POCKETS and how many feathers are or are not there when mounting you may have to have the wing placed in an "out of pocket" mode to cover the side pockets up. This seems to be the case more often than not.

 
I hope these tips help you create an action plan when dealing with pin feathered birds as well as to give better service to your clients and make money on "un-mountable" birds in the future.   :)   Matt
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Jay Parke on October 12, 2013, 06:43:53 PM
Great post!!!!

I get a bunch of Sept Sage Grouse. Not to mention the KIDS FIRST BIRD.

I find it helps to tell them ... two birds are better than one.

I always have an extra skin for tails , wing feathers and DOG marks .

And keep a screen on the drain!
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: ntxwaterfowl on October 15, 2013, 11:06:23 AM
Wow, great post! Thank you for the tips, I know I've learned a few of these the hard way! I have a pair of very early season Scaup that I am working on now and this post came at the perfect time.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds - A Tutorial
Post by: Matt Smith on October 15, 2013, 01:42:20 PM
Great post!!!!

I get a bunch of Sept Sage Grouse. Not to mention the KIDS FIRST BIRD.

I find it helps to tell them ... two birds are better than one.
I always have an extra skin for tails , wing feathers and DOG marks .

And keep a screen on the drain!

That's a great tip and one we always try tell our clients going out of state...especially for upland birds - Bring back extra birds for repairs!!
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: robolson on October 15, 2013, 01:45:37 PM
Thanks Matt!  Definitely helpful tips for all those "sink cloggers"!
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 15, 2013, 01:46:14 PM
Wow, great post! Thank you for the tips, I know I've learned a few of these the hard way! I have a pair of very early season Scaup that I am working on now and this post came at the perfect time.

Well, by Gawd, I'm glad somebody is gettin' something out of these tutorials. :o   

...and on a side note-  Birds like this always make me think:  "Which one am I more proud of:  the one that was fully plumed with no shot damage that goes together like butter...OR a nasty, pinned up bastage that you saved for the client?"   (For the record, I say the later).
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 15, 2013, 01:48:22 PM
Thanks Matt!  Definitely helpful tips for all those "sink cloggers"!

Thank you Sir....uh, and where, may I ask are pics of your excellent mounts on BOTW or the Work Bench Thread....Hmmmmm??!! 
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: mimes on October 15, 2013, 02:48:41 PM
Great job. Thanks.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: museum man on October 15, 2013, 02:56:57 PM
real good advice on an age old problem..
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: robolson on October 15, 2013, 10:19:16 PM
YOU think MY mounts are excellent???  Wow,  that makes me feel like I'm doing something right!  :D. I've been slacking on posting my bird pics lately...need to get back into it.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 16, 2013, 03:11:48 PM
 
YOU think MY mounts are excellent???  Wow,  that makes me feel like I'm doing something right!  :D. I've been slacking on posting my bird pics lately...need to get back into it.

Rob,

I can't find my glasses so if I'm reading your post correctly it says that you would be more than happy to be one of the Hosts for Bird of the Week.   :) :) :)

Excellent idea!..I will put you down - just shoot me a PM and let me know what time of the year would be best for you.  :)

I've always liked the fact that you mount ALL types of birds....so I'll be excited to see what you post up!  Thanks again for volunteering, you are a good man.:)
Title: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: John Lewis on October 16, 2013, 03:39:41 PM
Matt, you are the man! Thanks for sharing. This information is really helpful to us beginners!


Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire (http://www.outdoorhub.com/mobile/)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: robolson on October 18, 2013, 01:29:51 AM
Hmm.. How did I get tricked into this?   :o :).  I'll pm and let you know soon Matt.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: roughlegged_hawk on October 20, 2013, 12:05:22 PM
Great tutorial Matt - thanks!
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Randy H on October 24, 2013, 03:58:28 PM
Attention beginners!!! Here is your bible on how to deal with pinfeathered birds...Great post Matt. :)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: RichMO on October 25, 2013, 04:17:02 PM
For those that have been up to their eye balls with "Pin-to-many" this is great.  I would suggest this be moved into the "Tutorial" section as a great reference tool.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 26, 2013, 10:36:20 AM
Thanks for the nice feedback fellas!  It's always nice to know folks are getting something out of these tutorials. :)
Here is the finished mount right before shipping.
(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t82/moose5222/01subalbum/rps20131026_094328_138_zps3d3998dd.jpg)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: frenchydermist on October 30, 2013, 01:02:51 PM
Thanks for sharing!! this should go in the tutorials section...so , the rule of thumb with pin feathered birds is caution and patience.. what a bout gluing back the lost feathers??
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 30, 2013, 01:23:57 PM
Thanks for sharing!! this should go in the tutorials section...so , the rule of thumb with pin feathered birds is caution and patience.. what a bout gluing back the lost feathers??

Good question!  We  routinely glue in only the largest of the feathers where they are needed (tail snd tertials for example) This should be done very sparingly and with a great deal of caution.  Although you will only apply a very small amount of super glue gel to the end of a replacement feather and put it under an existing feather on the mount the danger here is that the glue will soak through and ruin the mount altogether.  Hope this helps. :)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Mud On The Tires on October 30, 2013, 01:35:43 PM
Elmer's school glue works just as well and doesn't soak through near as bad as super glue... plus it can washed off if need be.

MOTT
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 30, 2013, 01:49:40 PM
Elmer's school glue works just as well and doesn't soak through near as bad as super glue... plus it can washed off if need be.

MOTT

Good tip MOTT!

I had a bad experience years ago  with Elmer's and was too afraid to ever try it again . :o
I do have a buddy that says he likes the Mod Podge as it offers good control around feathers.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Nancy C on October 30, 2013, 03:40:42 PM
If it's a tail issue where a lot of the feathers aren't fully formed, I like to mount the tail separately and glue all of the feathers to a piece of stiff card stock or poster board. Sometimes it's necessary to include the coverts too, especially if you have to "fudge" the amount of overlap in order to hide the gaps.
This is an early season blue grouse.  *sigh*
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y249/Greybird52/pinfeathers5.jpg)
The salvageable tailfeathers have been stripped out of their sheathing, cleaned, and glued in place.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y249/Greybird52/pinfeathers6.jpg)
The larger tail coverts have been glued in place after painting the card stock to help conceal it. Amazingly, this bird didn't need it, but I have had some that were so bad that I had to steal some random rump feathers and glue them into the tail assembly to cover the gaps.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y249/Greybird52/pinfeathers7.jpg)
The under coverts are a mess too. All must be plucked, stripped, cleaned, and glued in place.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y249/Greybird52/pinfeathers8.jpg)
A "U" shaped wire was hot glued to the card stock before the under coverts were added but I forgot to take a picture.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y249/Greybird52/pinfeathers9.jpg)
Now it's ready to be attached to the bird.
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Matt Smith on October 30, 2013, 04:43:57 PM
Wow Nancy! That is an incredible example of problem solving. Really, an  exceptional fix....THANKS for contributing the photo illustrations :)
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Mud On The Tires on October 30, 2013, 04:48:03 PM
a little ingenuity, and wha la!  A tail is born from the ashes of a dust mop!

MOTT
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: nina5150 on October 30, 2013, 05:53:37 PM
dang nancy and KMA....wish I could be a fly on your work walls...lol..I would get swatted I know but this post is great..
Title: Re: Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Pin-Feathered Birds
Post by: Nancy C on October 30, 2013, 05:59:11 PM
I'm glad KMA doesn't mind that I poked my nose into his thread, but I also agree that his thread should become a tutorial and I figured it would be best to have similar subjects in the same place.
Plus, the title is perfect!