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Correct Way To Skin A Wing

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Bruce M, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    As a beginner, I am working on a barred owl. It is on the perch, and being groomed. But I think I did the wings wrong from the start. I removed the wing bones so when I went to wire it I used cotton...just stuffed it in though. No glue or anything - not right i now realize but learning from mistakes. I realize I should have probably wrapped the wire in jute and yarn and then hide pasted it. Also, didn't really know how to finish off the distal end of the wing wire. Initially tried to loop it and pull it back but that ended up tearing a hole I had to patch so I ended up cutting off the loop and forcing it best as possible into the wrist. As bad as all this sounds, results aren't too bad but I want to do it right next time so any advice would be appreciated. I was also unsure how to set the eyes - just went for it but would appreciate thoughts on that too. Thanks. Here is a pic of what I have so far.
     

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  2. KolbiH

    KolbiH New Member

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    Never remove your wing bones! They are a crucial part of anatomy that must be used. Invert your wing out to the wrist. For a closed wing barred owl 16 GA. wire is sufficient. Insert the wire under the tendon of the wrist push the wire in between the hand bones until it lodges at the end. Do not let wire enter the primary quill it will distort your primary feather pattern. While holding the wire to the bones place a 90 degree bend at the elbow. Secure your wire to the bones with string. As for your eyes, owls have a very peculiar eye set that can be challenging. Just remember the wildlife artist mantra, reference, reference, reference.
     

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Did you get the DVDs before you started?
     
    magicmick likes this.
  4. X2 best starting with a more common bird, not everyone will have a chance to do a owl,me included.
     
  5. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    No, need to do that but a bit short on cash at the moment. I'm already in the dog house as it is with all of this start up.
     
  6. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    I did feel pretty fortunate to find it....I actually find quite a few that are hit by cars where i live. I finished grooming it tonight and I am pleased with the result. I need to let it dry and then do the finish work. I'll post a picture when complete. Best of all is the feedback and the learning that will guide how I will do it better next time.
     
  7. Dave York

    Dave York Well-Known Member

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    Please tell us you have all the paper work from USFW to have possession of that owl? If you don’t get rid of it NOW! If they happen to be watching this post you will be more than a little short on cash.
    You might find yourself learning about laws the hard way.
     
  8. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I was thinking the same thing throughout this thread. Big trouble if in the USA
     
  9. KolbiH

    KolbiH New Member

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    Me too I assumed he’d known about the laws. As you said Dave York if he doesn’t he has a serious problem. So hopefully you’re paper work is order if not, then yea get rid of it NOW!!!
     
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member


    When you build a house do you A) build the house and then build the foundation under it or B) build the foundation, then the house on top of it? Does the horse push or pull the cart? I firmly believe the taxidermy stays in the freezer waiting for the "taxidermist" to learn how to do it via instruction (DVDS) from those who know how to do it. Once your ducks are in a row, then start the taxidermy.

    It blows me away that people start doing something they don't know how to do and then once into it, need to be bailed out because they have very little idea what they are doing.

    You owe it to the animal and the art to learn it first, then doing it second. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is a waste of my time to give someone a step by step when they haven't invested in what they are doing first. If you have questions AFTER you have invested in learning something, then I will be willing to offer step by step.
     
    BrookeSFD16 and magicmick like this.
  11. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Have permits from DNR - no worries
     
  12. crablover

    crablover Active Member

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    Find it hard to believe the DNR would issue you a permit violating federal laws. What permit did they issue you?
     
  13. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Let me ask you a question. When you started, did you know how to do taxidermy? Or were you just so interested and knew it was something you wanted to do that you started on some easier things first, gained confidence, tried some more, read and watched some more, made some mistakes, learned, did it different next time, read and watched some more all with the mind to bring respect to the animal and honor it as something that mattered when it was alive? Or did you go out, spend a bunch of money to learn from people that only turned around to say that there are as many ways to do this as there are taxidermists out there - you just have to find the way that works for you. All of them also say that any mistake can be remedied (which is why I am here). And you said it yourself, that this is an art...I am an artist too and art is all about learning the basics (form,tone color, perspective) and then interpret and improvise and use those basics to grow and get better at your craft and create. Heck, many of the most famous artists are self taught. Had a passion, started, made mistakes, etc. They had to jump on with someone as there weren't the resources available to learn on their own. So they would form groups and work together at mastering their craft. Yeah, I didn't get the videos you mentioned the minute you mentioned them - probably would have been better off had I but I have watched and read for hours and hours and hours and have asked questions of other taxidermists. I have also done other projects leading up to this one. This particular project sat for months while I prepared and acquired the permits and background skills and then I had the resources right next to me, referencing them throughout the process start to finish. I realize now that I didn't have all that I needed at the start but will next time and in the mean time I have a piece that does honor to the species, will teach others and will live on rather than be just a pile of feathers and bones in a ditch somewhere. It's a pretty darn nice, solid ranch house - not a million dollar mansion by any means, but then again, I wouldn't start a million dollar mansion at this point because I am still learning the basics. I know that I am in the beginner division - would be a fool to think I could hang with the masters which is why I am wanting to learn from them.

    Yeah you were harsh, but don't worry, I have thick skin...no pun intended. More so, I have a strong desire to get better at this art - and I have lost valuable time that I need to make up in order to get to where I want to be. So, thanks again for all of the good input you have given me up to this point. I will get those videos when I have the means. And you will see me around here again asking questions.
     
    drob and Vulpes Vulpes like this.
  14. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    The permit they issue taxidermists to do work for educational use...I would think a state conservation warden would know the regs for this...or am I missing something?
     
  15. I think your owl looks pretty awesome. The feathers hides the mistakes. I also learned through trial and error. You can watch all the videos you want but they won't fully prepare you for the first time working on an animal. You will learn by DOING and asking for help. Keep at it.
     
    Bruce M likes this.
  16. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Thanks for your encouragement and video. I will, I want to get better too much not to. It'd be fun to see your work and talk about technique.

    What's your take on the permits I was getting slapped around for above?
     
  17. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Yup, I just learned something. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS. Next time will be different - better. Was this video available free online cause I never found it if it was. And I am assuming that when reassembling that the wire will follow this bone structure. Someone mentioned this above too. Thanks so much for your help.
     
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The permit is indeed for "educational use" if you got one. It also requires that you give the bird away to a school, library, museum or the like. You are not allowed to keep it after all of your hard work. Many who get the permit fail to realize that and get hung later when the location of the bird isn't where it is supposed to be. Hopefully all the details were explained.

    Lucky to get to work on that, despite errors, it looks pretty good for a beginner. Feathers hide a lot. Whoever gets it should love it. Consider a plexiglass case for it to protect it from dust and handling.
     
    George and Bruce M like this.
  19. I've only completed two birds, a hen and drake wood duck. Both helped me learn a TON about how difficult birds are to mount. Totally different ballgame than mammals. My forte is small mammals. I've found Youtube to be extremely valuable.
     

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    Bruce M likes this.
  20. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Thanks Sea Wolf! Yes, I am aware that it is for educational use...I am a high school biology teacher in my "real life" and it is going in my classroom when all of this covid 19 is over. We are on distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Until then it will hang in my shop with permit nearby! I really like the plexiglas glass box idea a lot - thanks for that. Yes, I am really pleased with the way it turned out despite my rookie mistakes...it looks even better now that it is on its permanent perch. I will post a final pic in the future. Thanks for your encouragement and insights - I appreciate it.