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Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Bruce Foster, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    Stephen....found this old picture last nite of a Green Heron I did along with the GBH around 1992.....have at it will ya
  2. The Taxidermologist

    The Taxidermologist New Member

    I suppose no one will reply until I say something. I think the title of the post seem a bit pretentious as there are many here who have just as much knowledge on what is a good taxidermy piece, or what they would change about a particular mount. I don't know if the forum allows modification of the title of a post, but it should appear as Green Heron.

    While I have handled a few dozen green herons over the years, I have only made two taxidermy mounts of green heron and one of a similar sized least bittern. Until people skin one of these birds, they have no idea exactly how long the neck is in relation to the body. If I remember correctly the neck of the least bittern was close to 2 1/2 times as long as the actual body. My mounts looked very similar to your finished mount, in that I made a neck the appropriate length and then twisted it in a huge s-bend in front of the body. However, I one peruses the Goggle image search, or other appropriate photographs, it is quite difficult to find a picture of a heron that actually looks like that. The usual picture of a green heron at rest doesn't give an inkling of the length of the neck.

    In reflection, I wonder if the neck skin actually floats on the meat of the neck only firmly attaching at the head and in the shoulders. I think the neck must slip inside the skin and make an even tighter S bend such that it folds over itself totally inside the outside feather surface. I can't account of how else the green heron could look so sleek and compressed as these pictures on goggle.
    http://www.tobinphoto.com/images/photos/green-heron.jpg or http://www.tobinphoto.com/images/photos/green-backed-heron.jpg

    Most, or at least many birds, have a floating neck skin. It is not as common in the birds traditionally done by taxidermists - Anseriformes and Galliformes. When the average taxidermist mounts a dicky bird for the first time, or even a hawk or owl, they almost invariably don't adjust the neck feathers far enough up towards the head. I am sure you have seen it routinely.

    The second comment I would have would be placement of the center of the foot on the branch. The point of the foot where the three fore toes meets the hind toe, seems a bit too far forward. The left foot is closer to the middle of the branch surface, but the one of the right seems a bit too much over the edge. While the bird could have this leg position, having the center of the foot on almost the highest of the branch is more common. A more typical stance on a branch can be seen on this goggle picture

    The green heron you posted is a good mount. You know it, and I know it. I am simply posting my opinion, and it is only opinion, on things I would change would I mount another green heron in the near future. I believe, playing around with the fresh carcass and seeing how the neck and skin works would be very beneficial in creating a good mount. The drawback though, is that the green heron transferred to you for mounting, has probably been in someone's freezer for three years before you get it and elasticity of the skin is long gone.

    Thanks for posting the picture. Now that I have said my piece - someone else say something....

  3. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

    It's a nice mount Bruce. I would love to get at some of those types of birds! What a challenge.
    As to the neck issue talked about in the previous post, I am in the early stage of planning a comp. piece with a gobbler. It is a relaxed pose with the neck pulled in tight to the body and the caracul's clear up against the underneath of the head. The neck must indeed slide along inside the neck skin a great deal. Watching the different attitudes of live turkeys will show this quickly. More taxidermist need to pay attention to this area of their mounts as you constantly see the neck area pulled to far back or just posed in a way that is not anatomically accurate. The suggestion that it would be beneficial to play around with a fresh bird to see how it works is a great idea and even if it isn't a heron anyone willing to do this type of study will benefit by it, no matter the type of bird. This is a good discussion and I hope more will join in . We have a long way to go to seeing good bird work done by the general taxidermist. My best , Jim