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Cleaning a bird skull

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by dgats, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. dgats

    dgats New Member

    What is the best way off cleaning a bird skull and brain cavity before mounting the bird
    Any help we be greatly appreciated
    Dennis from Down Under
  2. SteveP

    SteveP New Member

    For speed, and probably a better cleaning, most are probably removing as much of the bony material inside the skull, of course leaving enough bone to keep the shape all around. Using a fine wire wheel on most of the exterior surfaces won't hurt anything after most of the larger muscles and the eyes are removed. I'm still old school and leave a lot of interior bone and do a lot of picking and scraping. On smaller birds, I just use my scalpel to shave a small piece off the back of the skull. On larger birds, I've used a variety of saw blades to do the same thing. Then I use a pick, or a sharp tweezers, to get the membrane around the brain loose from the bone, then pull it out with the tweezers. That will usually get most of it, especially if the eyes are out already. Keep some borax on it to help rub the flesh and membranes from any bony surface you can get your fingers onto. Once you do it, it's not a big deal, nor does it take much time. Picking and scraping the sinus area is probably the most difficult, and requires the most care. You'll see what I mean, but it only seems odd until you do it.

    The most important part of cleaning the skull is that you get as much reference information from it before any cleaning. Sketches and measurements, including eye placement, overall size dimensions, ear locations, and shape are a must, especially if you are new to bird taxidermy, or even if this is just a new species for you. It doesn't hurt to do this for every bird you mount.

    Have fun!

  3. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    wire wheel for the most part...then pack with borax and scrape out....q tips can help with sinuses and brains
  4. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Hi Dennis, just a question out of curiosity: what kinds of birds are you able to mount in Australia?

  5. dgats

    dgats New Member

    Thanks for your advice.
    In Australia we can mount Game Birds Ducks Pheasants & Quail but the Taxidermist must have a special licence to do so where I live in Victoria
    All the pest birds you can do without it
    Native species as well as the Licence you also have to acquire a Special Permit
    At the moment I'm mounting a few ducks
    Will post some pic's when completed
  6. redwolf

    redwolf Active Member

    This is how I do them. But I skin around the beak and skin the whole head out like you would for an artificial head, clean and rebuild. That way I know I got ALL of the meat and grease out of it. Then I super glue the skin back on.

  7. dgats

    dgats New Member

    Thanks Redwolf I have seen it done skinning out the whole head but have been too nervous to try it.
    I will give it a go on one of my own birds