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how to mount a hooded merganser drake, a tutorial by Ryan P Kostyniuk

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by RyanP, May 21, 2011.

  1. now completley groom the bird. and adjust into desired position. important points to pay attention to on a hooded merganser when grooming and posing are, the head, the bars on shoulders, the brown side pockets, and the boldly marked black and white feathers on the wings. at this point, I superglue the feet to the base as well. to do this, simply apply a thin bead of superglue to the bottom front edge of the webs, and press into place.

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  2. to hold the feathers in position while drying, wrap the bird with cotton thread. DO NOT apply pressure on the feathers. the thread is just to prevent the feathers from moving while drying, it is not meant to "tie them down"

    I also use thin cardboard and paper clips to card the tail I use 4 strips of board, 2 on top and 2 on bottom. make sure that all the tail feathers lay properly, and then use paper clips to secure the cardboard into place.

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  3. set the bird aside to dry for at least 1-2 weeks. I will be posting finishing pics right away. (the date on my camera was wrong when I took the mounting pics, and I didn't notice it until I had already downloaded the pics onto the computer. The finishing pics have the correct dates. :)
  4. pic of the bird ready to dry

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  5. for finishing I use waterbase acrylics from a local craft supply store, and I apply the paint with normal artists brushes. the only specialty paint I use is polytranspar waterbase fungicidal sealer. b4 applying any color, apply a medium coat of this to ALL exposed surfaces of the feet and legs, and let dry 1/2 hour. because I paint by hand, I do not bother masking the feathers around the legs.

    first pic is of paints used second pic shows base color for legs and feet. for the base coat I used 4parts antique gold, 1part each of chocolate brown and olive green.

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  6. Wow...great tutorial!
  7. apply this color to the legs and toes only. avoid the webs. when painting always paint very lightly. you should still be able to see all the scale detail on the legs.

    the second color used, a 50/50 mix of black and chocolate brown this produces a medium burnt umber.

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  8. sorry, got those two pics mixed up. the bottom pic is of the first color applied, the top pic is of the second color mixed and ready to go
  9. apply this color VERY lightly to the webs so as not to hide the intricate skin texture. then using a small, soft round brush, accent the joints with this color as well. go over the joints a few times until the desired depth of color is acheived.

    each bird within a species is different. I have seen mergansers with bright yellow, yellow-green(as in this case) and yellow-brown legs. for the best results, I take color reference pics of each and every bird that I take in, so that when the customer receives the bird, it looks like what he remembers (in this case the customer was me, as this is the first merganser I have shot)

    the next step I do is to apply a light coat of matte mod-podge. this gives a leathery and fleshy look to the feet, and (I think) really makes them look alive. If your colors were applied properly, you will still be able to see all the skin texture on the feet. Plus, the mod-podge is a great sealer for your paint job.

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  10. Next, take off all the thread and carding. clean the eyes with a q-tip and windex dust the bird off, check all the grooming, you are finished ! (cleaning the eyes is very important, as the eyes are what most people see first on a mount. a dirty eye does not help the mount look alive ) the 2 pics below show the finished bird.

    Sorry for some of the blurry pics. I am not the best photographer. I hope I have been able to help some people with this project Let me know what you think of the tutorial. I have several other bird mounts to do over the summer, and if anybody wishes, I can make another tutorial.

    A big thanks also goes out to all the taxidermists on this forum for posting their tips and teqhniques. I have learned so much from this website, and i hope many others will continue to do so.

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  11. i should add that when accenting the joints on the feet, you should be using a dry brush technique in a stippling motion. dry brushing is getting the brush full of paint, then using a soft towel to remove 99% of the paint. therefore, when you apply the paint, very little color will be applied at one time, this is why you have to go over it a few times.

    I use this technique because it makes the accents look very soft.
  12. huntnfish

    huntnfish Member

    Very informative and well done tutorial. Thanks alot!!!
  13. huntsheds

    huntsheds New Member

    Greagt tutorial!
  14. james lin

    james lin Member

    hope a lot
  15. awsome job! Ready to pull the drake buffie out of the freezer and give it a try. I do have a question though, as far as tanning does the gasoline, borax, and earth material act as a tan or did i miss a step some where?

    thanks for a great tutorial !!!!!!!!!! ;D
  16. jiffynine

    jiffynine New Member

    Thank you so much!
  17. A prime example of why i love this website. Awesome tutorial, thankyou!
  18. silverbullet04 the gasoline is a solvent, which pulls the grease out of the inside of the skin, earth material is simply a drying agent to get all the moisture out of the feathers.

    The preservative is the borax, which drys the skin, prevents odors, and bug proofs the mount. borax is the most common dry preservative, and is used on thousands of bird mounts across the world each year, with great results.

    If your bird's skin is fleshed properly, there is no need to tan it, dry preservative (in this case borax) does the job just fine. ( this is not to say that I dry preserve everthing, I tan ALL mammals, because their skin structure is different)
    A bird skin that has been fleshed properly should last indefinatly if preserved with borax.
  19. derbrans

    derbrans New Member

    Thats a great tutorial so far. I have watched several videos on bird mounts and didn't learn near as much as I did from yours. I appreciate you taking the time to put it together and posting it.
  20. vinyari

    vinyari New Member

    wow, I must first say I am brand new to this, havn't even started to do anything yet, but been lurking on the site, doing lots of reading before I even attemp to start, I have a set of videos from Bill Atkins, and presently have some duck hunting buddies collecting ducks for me to get started, your tutorial was great and will be what I come back to in the future once I get up the nerve and the supplies to start my first mount

    BTW I am also from alberta so you just might hear from me from tiem to time, lol