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Ocellated Turkey Head

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Mary, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Mary

    Mary New Member

    I have never mounted an Ocellated Turkey before and have one to work on. I have the skin rehydrated and the cleaned skull is in the birds head. Not sure how to proceed with the head. I see there are artificial heads on the market, but would like to try to use the real head. I mounted a Blue-eared Pheasant using the real skull a long time ago and it worked out fine with out any problems but have always used freeze dried heads for Eastern wild Turkeys, but not sure if this is the way to proceed or not with this bird. Since I only have the one, I want to give it my best go. Any suggestions would be appreciative!
  2. finazducks

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

    If you decide to use a cast head, we have some good ones in several positions. They will save you much grief.
    Tony Finazzo
    [email protected]

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Having done a hen turkey with the real head, I have a little experience with using the real head on a turkey and I can't imagine doing a male turkey and with all the caruncles and such on a oscillated, I would advise against going that route. If I was doing one I would use an artificial head.
  4. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    It can be done, but it's a royal pain. Do it one time and you will use a cast head the next time, but here's a proven method that will give good results:

    First, prepare the head skin by fleshing ALL of the membranes off of the inside, and make sure that all of the wrinkles have let out and become flat. It should be MUCH larger than it would be in life. The biggest caruncles can sometimes be turned inside out and fleshed, but if not then don't worry about them. They will be dealt with later.

    For the sake of sanity you should be mounting the head separately from the body, so choose where you want to sever it. You can leave a small row of feathers to help hide the transition if you wish, but be aware of potential overspray issues. The skin will dry almost black so it will need to be primed as well as tinted. That's a lot of paint.

    You will need to create an accurate, rigid manikin of the skinless head and neck structure before you start. Use carved foam coated with a thin layer epoxy resin or whichever method you like, but it needs to be correct, including the trachea, neck muscles, etc.

    Set the eyes, and then apply a thin layer of latex caulk over the entire neck form to serve as hide paste. (You could also use real hide paste.) Basically, you will be mounting the head like you would mount a miniature game head. All of the tiny missing wrinkles will need to be pushed and manipulated back into the skin until the head is back to its proper size and shape. You might need to touch it up some more on the second day, depending on the type of paste you use, the humidity, etc.
    Let it dry completely, and then re-build the shrunken areas, including the eyelids and the caruncles. A dot of super glue on each caruncle will keep the sculpting epoxy in place while you shape it.

    Once all of that is done, paint the head, remove the overspray, and then use it as you would use a cast head.
    Or - just use a cast head!
  5. Mary

    Mary New Member

    Nancy and all, thanks for your responses. All of this will really help! God Bless for taking the time to help me out.