Sandhill Crane video and mounting tips

Submitted by Doug on 1/15/02. ( )

Does anyone make a video on mounting a sandhill? Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Doing my first one for myself and have two more pending for clients. Am planning on using the Newmyer head, neck, and body. Good choice? Also I have no idea what to charge. If anyone could e-mail me and give me an idea of the going rate I would really appreciate it. Thanks for all your help.

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Mounting daddy longlegs

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 1/15/02. ( )

Well ... for starters, I bought one of Newmyer's bodies and ended up using it for carving foam. In my opinion, it was that bad. I haven't tried his necks, and I don't like to use plastic heads on cranes. (Just pack the nostrils with cotton and shrinkage will be minimal.)
I also tried Stefan Savides' crane form and didn't like it either. The crop/wishbone area was all wrong. In spite of that, though, it was better than Newmyer's. Stefan has two crane forms that are VERY different in size. I guess they must be the extremes, since the ones I've done seem to always fall exactly in between. If your bird happens to fit one of his forms, you are in luck. Otherwise, I would say carve your own and bondo in the leg and neck wires. Pay close attention to the way the neck and crop area is constructed when you skin a crane. The neck attachment always stays high, in fact it appears to originate partway down the back. That gives the illusion of the wings being set very low. Cranes are one of those odd birds that DON'T have a crop! They can store some food in the esophagus, but it lacks the swollen area which would be considered a true crop. In addition, they DON'T settle their necks down into the wishbone like ducks and virtually every other bird you will ever mount. That area is tightly filled with coils of the trachea. Look closely at crane photos and you will see they have a "hunchbacked" look when they lower their heads. It is due to the odd neck structure.
Aside from the neck junction, the main problem with cranes is getting the mount to be stable. I usually mount the legs onto the form and get the whole thing sculptured into place before I put the skin on. (Sometimes days before!) I skin them differently from other birds to allow for this. A ring around where the feathers stop on the legs, and then up and over the back and down the other side. Sort of like the way Cally Morris skins turkeys, except dorsal.
It is possible to put two wires down the legs - one inside the bones, and one where the tendons lie. I think it is worth the trouble to do it. Of course, casting the legs with a heavy wire inside is even better if you want to go that route.
I think this is starting to ramble. If you come into any specific problems, e-mail me and I will try to help. Cranes are birds that have become one of my specialties since I did one for competition and took the time to really research them. I am very expensive on them, too!
They aren't easy, but at least they have tough hides and very little fat.

Nancy M.

In case you were interested

This response submitted by Jeff Brown on 1/20/02. ( )

I raise Sandhill cranes and would be happy to send video and/or
photo's for reference if you like.

Also, I would contact Patrick Rummans...I have seen his cranes and
have yet to see his equal in bird taxidermy.

Two questions

This response submitted by John Obenhaus on 3/10/02. ( )

I have been interested in bird taxidermy for a while now. This is not a response to anything, just a few quesitons. Last season I shot a white-fronted goose and stuck him in the freezer. I put a couple cotton balls where he was shot, in his mouth, and over his anus. I started thinking to myself if I was doing it right, and how long is too long in the freezer? My other question is when it comes time for defrosting the bird, what is the right way to do it? I would appreciate it if you would take the time out to answer the couple of questions for me. Thank you.

John Obenhaus

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