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Feathers Stick Up And Don't Zip Back To Bird Body? (pictures Attached)

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by buffalobill20, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Hey everyone. I recently have started transitioning over to bird taxidermy. I am starting off with small birds first as practice before I do something bigger.

    I have had 2 incidents where the skinning and the fleshing is fine, but then after pickling and washing skins, the feathers seem to not fall back to the shape of the body. I also get these weird bald spots, even though there was virtually no feather slippage (maybe 3 feathers fell max but overall I don't see any feathers ripping off in excess).

    I am guessing perhaps the feathers aren't slipping, but it seems more likely that they aren't falling back into proper place against the skin.

    Here is my procedure:

    1. skin bird (detach secondaries, remove gland, scoop out brain etc)
    2. salt the skin from inside
    3. remove any particle of flesh that are more difficult so wings legs etc. At this stage, everything looks good and if I just stuff it is good.
    4. acid/salt pickle (I have some from when I do mammals) to disinfect and thoroughly salt everything. It's also cleaner
    5. remove skin and rinse with water (and dawn)
    6. naptha
    7. corncob it and blowdry. generally speaking, I can fluff up the feathers, but they don't seem to fall into place on the body.

    I have seen tutorial videos where they wash the skins with no problems after drying, but for some reason after I wash mine, it gets all weird with the feathers. Here are pictures.

    Can anyone offer any advice? I am very new to bird taxidermy and would appreciate any tips! :p
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  2. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    My opinion, ok?
    No need for gas, salt or pickle or corncob on those little birds. Skin, degrease and get meat removed. Wash and rinse. Blow dry carefully but get the down nice and fluffy. Mount it up.
    To clarify...degrease is just scraping or wire wheeling the fat off the skin and particularly the feather tracts so the quills are exposed and allowed freedom of movement.
    I never use a pickle or salt on birds. Just borax.
     

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Do you have any DVDs?
     
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  4. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Thanks - I will avoid pickling and salting in the future. For now, what would the solution for this bird skin?

    for birds this small, would I need to free up the quils in the back? I have seen this done to larger birds but I am trying to see for this small one if the procedure is the same. I think i did remove all flesh and fat though I haven't tried to free individual quills in the back yet.

    should I just wash it again with water and then blowdry it? Will this fix the oddness of the feathers lol
     

    Attached Files:

  5. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Those are not bald spots. There are no feathers there, under the scapular feathers. It is only skin that needs to be tucked under the wing humerus bone. That extra skin gives the bird the ability to spread out and move his wings in flight. Positioning the wing on the form correctly will take care of this. The wired wing needs to be lifted straight up and then over its back to secure the humerus in the form. PM me if you need help. Joe wing positioning.png :)
     
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  6. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    I would just rinse very well at this point and accept the fact that I may have feather loss and it may not fix everything after all. I see lots of salt or borax in the plumage, that’s got to go. Borax the inside only. I blow dry my birds first and then apply borax to the inside of the bird skin. As suggested above a good video would help you get some basic stuff down.
     
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  7. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Yeah, I think it was a mistake to try to dry the feathers with corncob too. So I will rewash it again and see how it goes. Thank you for helping.
     
  8. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    I don't though I have been relying on a few youtube tutorials. I am planning o n purchasing a book to help better.
     
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If you are going to rely on Youtube, you might as well ask the grade school kid next door on what to do, as at least 85% of Youtube instruction is absolute junk. Being a beginner in birds, I doubt that you have the experience to decipher the crap from the cream.

    On the other hand, along with the book, purchasing a DVD from Taxidermy Training Unlimited, Research Mannikins and/or McKenzie will get you instruction from national and world champions. Do yourself a favor and learn from the best. Kulis Kastaway has a DVD on small bird mounting that might be helpful to you.
     
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  10. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    no prob with corncob but you need to keep skin side damp while working on it... dry feathers but use a mist sprayer or hypo needle to keep skin damp...
     
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  11. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    I was his supplier for those small birds!! [​IMG]
     
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  12. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    Fine feathered up land birds like yours have plenty of bare skin between feather tracts. As stated, no salt or anything but borax. Your best drying medium instead of corn cob is Potato Starch
     
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  13. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    pot or corn starch attract moths beetles... cob is not a food source nor is sawdust... I use cob as it dries faster in tumbler from day to day use
     
  14. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    Byrd, your statement should be a known fact in drying mediums. However, used properly as a drying agent and properly cleaned as with cob or sawdust, it doesn't come close to the insect attracting organic material feathers, skin and bone
     
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  15. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion of potato starch. You are right about the feather tracts. I read more about it and that sometimes people use to sew the bald spots in study skins. I don’t think I willl sew them for mounting purposes lol, but it was an interesting fact. It was so shocking because I thought i ****ed up the feathers somehow haha.

    I guess my last question is why we don’t salt in inside of the skin? I heard the reaction of borax to humidity creates boric acid which can destroy the skins over time. I know it is used all the time though.

    I also want to ask, am J suppose to borax The inside of the skin before mounting it and letting it dry?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  16. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    with cob, it does leave a dust on the feathers. Does that screw up the feathers and dirty them? The photos I attached were all dried with cob and they looked pretty dirty lol. To be fair maybe I didn’t rinse properly.

    one thing I haven’t understood was is salting the interior of thr skins necessary before mounting? My thoughts are it would preserve the skin, but I was also told to rinse the skins well after salting since keeping the birds dry was sufficient and also because salt made skin shrink and deform.
     
  17. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    Bill, forget the salt completely, not needed and will shrink the skin. Use pure Borax without any additives, and dust outside as well as inside. Make sure you shake very well to remove excess and this will help feathers fall into place. You can dissolve Borax into water and mist the inside skin as you mount. Once mounted, shake the bird very well again to help aligning the feathers and you also blow the feather side on low that dries any moisture, removes any dust from the Borax as well as fluffing the feathers up. Hope this helps, and good luck