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First Bird Mount - Please Help!!!!

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by [email protected], May 6, 2016.

  1. Nautical@28

    [email protected] New Member

    First of all any help would be greatly appreciated. I am new to the site and I am amazed by the talent out there.

    I have mounted some small furbearing animals before but this is my first attempt at something with feathers. It did not turn out as I expected. Before mounting I read a multitude of books and watched a couple videos about bird taxidermy. I found that most material out there gave you the basics but skipped a lot of the important stuff. I have been reading posts on this forum and learned some invaluable tips but only after completing this mount. This mount has been drying for 3 weeks now.

    So this is ruffed grouse and I am not sure the sex, I thought it was a male but now I’m beginning to suspect it is a female. I used a foam body, foam neck and artificial head. I stripped the secondary’s from the wing bones because that was what I read in a book. Obviously I have now read there are other ways to skin. There was a large hole in the belly on one side and I lost a good chunk of feathers only on the one side.

    After skinning it was washed in dawn, rinsed, then gassed, then dumped into Borax. In the video I watched from a Master taxidermist he poured Borax all over the inside skin and outside, all over the feathers and such. I then dried and proceeded to mount. Now that it is mounted I know for sure I over stuffed the wing pit areas with cotton which is now preventing the wings from lying flat against the body.

    Now that it is dry, the wings look terrible, the feathers don't sit flat and are all puffy and most of the down feathers are stuck together and it looks like the Borax powder is present on the feather. I used no caulk because I only learned this technique after from this forum and did not wrap the body after. Which again is something that I only just learned after reading countless forum posts. Another area which looks terrible is the neck where it attaches to the body. On the skin there are two patches that are completely bare of feathers on either side of the neck. I think these are either the feed sacks or air sacks? from what I read. Now there is still very loose skin around these areas and I don't know how to fix it. Was I supposed to fill or pin these sack areas to the neck?

    I have a few pictures to post about what I am talking about. Is there a chance I can put the mount under the sink and wash it again? If I am able to re-hydrate the skin can I remove stiches and pull out the over filled cotton areas? I know it is only a Ruffed Grouse, a common bird, but I am living in the arctic and the closet Ruffed Grouse to me is 5000 km away so I’d like to save this mount if I could.

    Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Nautical@28

    [email protected] New Member

    Here is two more pictures of my disaster bird

    Attached Files:

  3. Nautical@28

    [email protected] New Member

    One last picture

    Attached Files:

  4. You could try to soak the bird in soapy warm water to rehydrate the skin. I would try it, then take the bird apart and start over. A good mount starts from the inside out. It looks like you may have over stuffed the bird, then didn't blow dry it long enough to make the feathers fluff. Good luck.
  5. nate

    nate Active Member

    From what I can see. You didn't dry it enough before mounting. I think you're on the right track. Pointed out things that you thought you might have did wrong, take notes on what you did. Try to fix it on the next bird. Take notes on what you did on that one. Pretty soon you'll start seeing progress, and remember what works for you.
    Getting good at birds takes time, just like anything else, repetition.
    Have fun with it, you'll get it.
  6. rogerswildlife

    rogerswildlife Rogers Wildlife Taxidermy Tommy Rogers

    You can't just skin and wash in dawn then gas ! You left out the fleshing step so your bird was never clean. After I flesh I always wash my birds in dawn at least 3 times or till the water is good and clean. Did you use a commercial form or make your own? You shouldn't ever fill in the side pocket area with cotton. I would buy a good dvd on mounting birds that will help you a lot .
  7. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

    I would certainly try to re-hydrate the skin. You have nothing to lose really. I would wet the area where the stitches are and start to pull them as you can. Take your time and get the chest opened some. Spray water into the opening and get the skin wetted . As it loosens up and gets soft and pliable open it all the way and cut through the wires at the body. Inject water into the leg and inside / up the neck on the inside . Once you get the skin soft and are able to get it dis assembled try getting the fat off the inside of the skin and then clean it with dawn and warm water. As you work with it you will see if the feathers are going to stay put or slip. Rinse bird well and then dry the feather side till the down really fluffs up well. The ends of the feathers should come together nice and open up giving you better coverage of the down . Good luck with the project.
  8. finazducks

    finazducks EJ is not the only one to have two Wasco Awards

    I would start with a new bird. Make sure you get all the fat off the skin and most of all fluff the feathers till dry. Borax can help with that. Get the down dry
  9. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    treat it as a re-mount...first remove tail and set aside....then soak entire bird in denatured alcohol...use no water...you want to clean feathers without re-hydrating skin...then put in a box with sawdust or cob grit and fluf until mostly dry....then blow dry as best you can.......then you have quite a bit of grooming to do........treat tail same way and when bird and tail are dry and fluffed-reattach tail with bondo.the sure way to tell male from female is look at the rump or upper tail covert feathers......one white spot is a hen...two white spots is a cock.
  10. Nautical@28

    [email protected] New Member

    Thank you all for the constructive comments. I guess I forgot to mention that I did de-fat the bird by hand with scissors until everything was clean on the inside.

    I will try and rehydrated the skin and see if I can re mount once I wash and dry the skin very well. Perhaps a second time in a charm. I will then try and wrap the bird as it dries and see if that fix the buffy feathers.