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Critique On Red Headed Duck Pair

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Rhianna Campbell, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Hello, I am new to taxidermy (started in January of this year). I mounted these ducks from start to finish as the first birds I did on my own under my mentor's supervision. I'm looking for critiques of things to improve on for birds/ducks in the future. Thanks! 20210302_143242.jpg 20210302_143252.jpg 20210302_143157.jpg 20210302_143247.jpg 20210302_143203.jpg
  2. Without going into a lot of detail, I would suggest that you acquire a taxidermy video and watch it over and over and practice what is suggested. i.e. skinning, fleshing, washing over and over until all soap is gone from the skin etc., drying completely especially the feather down. There are some great videos out there that can really help you. You will find that the more you study references of what bird you are mounting that you will get a better finished mount. It takes time to learn all of these techniques and you will find that you will take what you learn in the videos and create your own style of mounting. Some taxidermist have a passion for the taxidermy world and always strive to become better while other do it so so to get by. These are observations I have learned over the years. The biggest thing I can tell you about mounting ducks & geese is that you have to know what that bird looks like in real life before you can properly mount it. JMO which is only mine. Good luck and if you have the passion you will succeed. Sorry so long

  3. Leonard "Tazman" Qualls

    Leonard "Tazman" Qualls Active Member

    How does it look to you? You should be your worst critic.

    Goosehunter1733 nailed it. His advice on skinning, fleshing and bathing, especially the bath process are extremely important for bird Taxidermy. Prep is 80% of the job. If you gave me a bird that wasn't fleshed or washed properly, I couldn't do much better than what you have pictured. With bird Taxidermy, a lot of what you see wrong is due to what you can't see inside, that is obviously wrong.
    Goose also glanced over paint work. I suggest you buy several bird heads, and paint them. Then strip them and paint them again. **NEVER use another taxidermist bird for reference. You have no idea what the taxidermist was "hiding" or what my have dictated that pose. Real world taxidermy, hence shot damage, has a lot to do with how a bird gets posed sometimes. Use real birds if you're looking for realistic results.
    These redheads you did are pretty rough, and I think you know that. All for the reasons mentioned by Goosehunter1733...that was sound advice. I suggest you mount up 50+ birds for friends etc, before you charge anyone. Maybe ask them for parts. Also, if you're mounting migratory birds,don't forget to get a license from US Fish and Wildlife and your state lic if required.
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
    Rhianna Campbell and George like this.
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I have never done ducks, but, I will say that I know you have a mentor. The reason that I believe that you need some videos is that the videos from Research Mannikins, Taxidermy Training Unlimited, and McKenzie, is that those DVDs are done by national and world champions.

    I don't know your mentor or his quality of work, but I do know that learning more ways to do something can only be a good thing. You can mix and match procedures that will work better for you. You will produce mounts that are influenced by your mentor and these world class taxidermists I mentioned and new things that you thought of.

    If I'm learning a new animal, I purchase at least 3 videos. I have multiple duck, fish and reptile videos and I have never mounted or wanted to mount any of those. The reason I have them is incase I do want to do one of those some day AND I picked up airbrush procedures as well as mounting procedures that crossed over into what I was doing. your drive and desire has put you are well on your way to greatness.
    magicmick and Rhianna Campbell like this.
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    DO NOT EVER GET RID OF THOSE BIRDS! Put them in the attic or a big plastic bag with a few mothballs. Watch a few videos, attend a hands-on seminar if possible, and keep mounting birds. In 5 years after doing all that, take these two birds out and then you tell US what you think of them.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  6. Kostyniuk-outdoors

    Kostyniuk-outdoors Alberta free and proud

    Im curious from seeing your posts how exactly involved your mentor is? I want to say that your birds are def better than my first, so keep pushing yourself. invest in dvds. If I had to pick one thing to improve on that would make a night and day difference, is the feathers are either very greasy, soapy, or wet. waterfowl need to be fleshed extremely clean and all fat removed from between each feather quill. then the bird needs to be washed in dawn soap and water with a fine toothbrush between feather quills from skin side. You cannot over wash a bird but you can under wash. I find greasy ducks often take 5 or 6 soap water baths then at least as many cold water rinses. you want to rinse until water is clear with no bubbles and the down at bottom of feathers floats freely not clumped together.

    Then you need to make sure the feather all the way down to the down fuzz is dry. you can tumble then blow or even just blow with a pet groomer, shop vac on reverse, or compressed air. but don't stop blowing till it is super fluffy.

    Focusing on reference will help with posing but the first thing that jumps out at me plumage being dirty or wet.
  7. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    Everybody pretty much is spot on so far about the prep work. Listen to what George says. I didn't keep my first one but do remember it quite well. I still have my first deer mount though. GEESH!!

    A couple things that stand out to me is the positioning of the wings are not very good They are way too stretched out. The humorous bone lies closer along the body even in flight. The neck should have more of an "S" curve in it. The head/neck junctions are at the wrong angle

    BUT I wish my first looked as good as these. My first was a standing bluebill and it really looked like I posed it taking a dump on a toilet
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The only first mount I kept is my first grouse. It is my first bird mount and the first bird I killed. I was always going to throw it away and am glad I didn't. it is nice to see how far I have advanced.

    Rhianna, when it comes to taxidermy, you will need to do a thorough study on bone structure, tissue structure and all things related to anatomy. You are going to have to replicate that anatomy in some form or another, so it pays to really understand it. You should be able to identify and know the names of each bone, feather group, muscle and organs and how and why they work the way they do. Taxidermy is very involved.
    goosehunter1733 likes this.
  9. Dave York

    Dave York Well-Known Member

    Look at pictures of live birds that are quality photos. Look carefully at the feather patterns. Every feather has an almost exact spot where it belongs.
    Like everyone has stated cleanliness has to be#1. One little side note that I have found out west. Redheads seem to be the last duck to complete mounting. Pin feathers on the necks and heads by the hundreds.
    Here’s a good picture of a wing. 3A0F7E4F-EB05-4081-B919-FD8BA8F3A779.png
    magicmick likes this.
  10. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    She posted 10 different "critique" posts in different topics and never responded to a single one. She hasn't returned since her last post on March 3rd. If you ask me, I think her mentor needs to watch some of those videos before he mentors anyone..... Screenshot (52).png
  11. My guideline i stick to. When I'm in my rinse cycle on birds. When I think all the soap is out, I rinse 4 more times it a hot tub of water. And get a hands on class. It helped me tremendously when I started out on birds 10 years ago. Now waterfowl is my favorite thing to mount