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struggling on birds

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by E. Byrd, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    im trying to be a self taught bird man and the videos ive bought basically are no help at all.. ive gotten better at the skinnng and fleshing(still tearing some on teal and woodducks) but i seem to be going backwards with putting it all back together.. ive tried artificial heads on my last attempt and it went worse than the real skull. im also have heck trying to get the wire out past the (wrist) bones. any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. 689

    689 Well-Known Member

    I just started doing ducks.i will take the wire and sharpin the ends so its easier to poke threw not only skin but forms as well.i also had taken a really beat up duck that was unmountable and used it to my advantage,well tryed,still trying..lol..which i have to make another one..being that i articulate skeletons,i took a duck and removed all the tissue and articulated it.seeing where all the bones go,where they are located,how they sit on the body kinda helps.get a duck not worthy of mounting,remove skin and eviscerate it and freeze.take it out and use it as reference. So when you try to put the wire threw the wrist you can see what you are hitting and what you need to maneuve around.might be a little helpful..just saying.helps me some..good luck and keep at it..

  3. TWinter

    TWinter Winter taxidermy

    One thing you could try, if it's a flying bird, wire your wing wire to the humerus, drill a hole in the ulna bone at the elbow. Run your wire inside the ulnar bone and take that wire to the wrist. Assemble your bird and when carding your wing, bring the wrist section out where you want it and use a clip, clothes pin, or whatever and attach it to your carding. On ducks, pheasants, it will dry fine. If it's a standing , I still wire the wing the same way, only use say a 22 guage (light ) wire to anchor your wing to the mannikin vs. pinning the wing to the body. On both methods, plenty of caulk in and around the wings.
  4. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    you might be better off paying someone to teach you in person...either at a taxidermy school, private one on one or a seminar at one of the conventions...don't give up...
  5. TWinter

    TWinter Winter taxidermy

    On larger birds, run your wire into the wrist area, and secure your wire to ulna/ humerus with zip ties, electrical tape, etc.. It does suck when the wire comes loose. I'm sure it's happened to everyone at one time or another. :) These things have worked for me , others may do things completely different. That's what's I think is interesting about taxidermy in general. there are many ways to complete the same goal.
  6. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    ive called several of the local taxidermist around me and none of em are interested in a lesson.. all i really need to do is be a fly on the wall for a day lol. and the drilling of the bone may be a technique to try. ive been trying to get the wire all the way through the wrist and it just keeps tearing through. thats where the videos kinda leave out the details. thanks guys, and im not close to giving up yet. I just had to take a break and start over.
  7. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Where are you located?
    I was attempting to be self taught and this is what I eventually figured out.


    There's no substitute for seeing it done. I know your frustration.

    AFTHUNT Well-Known Member

    What state you in? A lot of the state competitions are coming up join and go to the seminars talk to the bird guys you will learn a lot from them and you will find someone that will help you, but you may have to go on a little road trip but it will be worth every dollar you spend.
  9. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    west tennessee
  10. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    PM sent and our show is always the first Saturday in June so make plans :)
  11. Johnnyboy

    Johnnyboy Guest

    If you want to learn birds, pay a good bird taxidermist to teach you. You can learn it on your own, but it will be YEARS of frustrating trial and error only to end up with birds that never look right. The first thing you need to focus on is NOT mounting a bird, but skinning and cleaning a bird. Do this part wrong or half-assed and you'll never get a clean bird mount. This is the downfall of most new taxidermists trying to learn birds - they do not do the grunt work because they are too intent on getting a mount. Learn to clean a bird very well and learn bird anatomy. Use reference pics when mounting. Good luck - you decided to tackle the most difficult aspect of taxidermy!
  12. *This

    Museum man and Brooke are right as well, if videos won't cut it go pay for a class. If you can't afford to (or even if you do go to a class) go to the state show. You will learn a ton there. I'm 'self-taught' to the extend I've never taken a formal class however I wouldn't be anywhere near where I'm at now if not for state shows. Not only will you have classes but you will have the opportunity to make connections and talk with others about your specific issues.

    For what it's worth on the wrist, I never wire past the wrist on ducks (or even small geese). I drill a hole in the ulna like others have mentioned and attach the wire to the humerus with either string or more commonly, electrical tape.

    Don't give up but also don't keep trying the same thing if it doesn't work and expecting a different result (I believe that is Einstein's definition of insanity ;) )
  13. Johnnyboy

    Johnnyboy Guest

    Just a thought, but you might try posting in the "Wanted" section for lessons in your area. I'll warn you though - one lesson is not going to really get you where you might want to go. you need to find someone who will work with you for a year or more. It'll cost you 2-3K but will be worth it in the end.
  14. critterstuffr

    critterstuffr New Member

    When learning you could help yourself right out of the box by not using two of the hardest birds to mount . . .Teal and Woodies. Get your hands on some divers Redheads Bluebills ect. If your doing standing mounts you do not have to wire the wings (before you say it that's my method not the only method). Those birds are a lot more forgiving then the ones your using now. Most importantly is DO NOT QUIT we've all been there. Classes and state conventions are a great tool to use. But as i said use a user friendly bird to start with and have fun. It's a process painfully slow sometimes but a process none the less. Good luck
  15. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    i appreciate all the help guys.. i am starting with the hardest birds just because i figure if i can figure those out then i can do any of em. Thanks dux, ill definitely be at the show. I love to learn and i am my worst critic so im prepared for this to be a learning process and not something i become a pro at overnight. thanks again.
  16. smalliestalker

    smalliestalker and a river runs through it.

    ??? ??? ???

    You really do need to listen to the advice you've solicited and been so generously and expertly given.
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Why not do some pheasants first. They are big enough to work on and not so delicate. By starting with harder to mount birds, you just set your self up for frustration.
  18. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If you go to the second page of this section you will see a post by birdstuffer. It says lessons from Eugene (wingman)!! You see, birdstuffer is an awesome bird taxidermist. More than good enough to teach lessons for big bucks. Yet she still is open to taking lessons from one of the greats. I struggle with the wing wire too and am slowly putting small amounts of money away toward lessons. I have many videos but it's time to seek lessons, which, may be a year or years away. I practice on "easier" birds to get the basics and try new things.
  19. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

    Yep, one needs to put their pride away and go into it with an open mind. It is amazing what one can learn by just watching another person do a bird. I would love to see either one of them do a bird in person. They are both very talented.
  20. Johnnyboy

    Johnnyboy Guest

    I would ad this as well.....once you get where you can put together a decent bird - enter a competition. You are not really competing against other competitors but rather with a judge who gives a score. It will teach you where to make improvements as there will be a written critique on your score card.