First, I should say that this is completely legal. I'm working for a university (we have appropriate permits to possess these birds) and I'm trying to mount some of them for our museum collection, which is currently lacking (and falling apart), to say the least.
I've never done this before, but I'm up for the challenge! So I have a few questions for those of you who may have worked on small/non-game birds before.
I've been reading through this site and seen a LOT of great advise I hadn't encountered before, but I'm still trying to figure out (if we order eyes) what sizes I ought to order.
1) Are there any charts anywhere for eye size, or should I just keep the eyes and measure them after I skin the birds? A chart would be more convenient, though, so we could order the eyes in large quantities BEFORE we begin all the skinning projects.
2) What is the best way to remove stubborn tracts of fat from small, delicate birds? I chose a House Sparrow for my first victim, and I'm having some issues getting rid of fat, especially on the neck. Also, how important is it to remove the fat? I've been told that it may cause the feathers to fall out, but how much fat is too much fat left over?
3) How do I wire the legs of small songbirds? I was told to push the wire through the whole leg (!). Any advise on how exactly to do this? I read the tutorial on removing/reattaching duck legs, but I'm not sure that pertains to the little birds. (Do you think that would be an appropriate way to approach owl/raptor legs, though?)
I appreciate any input.