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Looking To Start Birds.......

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Point_and_Flush, Nov 18, 2021.

  1. Point_and_Flush

    Point_and_Flush New Member

    I have had an interest in bird (Waterfowl and Upland) taxidermy for a while. My background is naturally artistic (drawing) and I do have a creative eye (I have a photography business). I also have an entrepreneurial mind and spirit. Thus, I am looking to start this venture.

    Beyond the above, a major driving force behind this is my not being completely happy with what I am seeing local guys put out. There is one large and popular shop near me that gets very good reviews. I have had them do one upland mount and they have a Mallard currently. I was 85% happy with the upland mount. I am waiting on the Mallard. This local place seems to be very hit and miss on their birds in my eyes. Some a very nice, others are so so.

    In my freezer I currently have; 3 Huns, 1 Mallard, 1 Bufflehead, 1 Hooded Merganser and 3 Wigeon. I am hoping I can get one or two more Mallards and perhaps some divers before my waterfowl season is over in a couple of weeks. My thought was I would start with these birds.

    I've purchase all of Matt Smith's DVDs and I have been watching many other video clips on youtube (just to see how others approach things). I've gone ahead and made an equipment list as well (with most items being priced from the McKenzie Catalog). My list of equipment and tools (flesher, air brush, compressor, stands, hand tools, dryer, etc.) is just under $3k.

    Do you all feel this is a good general cost to start out?

    I follow that up by saying that I am not afraid to spend the money and purchase good equipment first. I'd much rather do that than buy subpar gear and have to purchase better in the future. To start this will just be for my personal birds. However, I do hope to turn it into something down the road.

    Your thoughts are appreciated!
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I would purchase a DVD or two from Taxidermy Training Unlimited, Research manikins and Matuska.

  3. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    3k is way more than needed to get started for birds. Once you are comfortable mounting birds most everything is available close to home, it just takes a little ingenuity. Here's my thoughts, order a fleshing machine, you could make one but doubt you would save much. needed, no but it makes work easier once use to it . Learn to use it. Order forms and heads and eyes based on individual birds measurements. You could use the original heads but I prefer fake. Order feet injection fluid and supplies for that, learn to use it. Heck for the first 50 birds I mounted I never injected the feet. I'm sure there is more I could add to this but I'm tired and it's been a long day.
    msestak likes this.
  4. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I'm with 3Bears...3K is super overkill to get started mounting birds. I started with a Boy Scout pocketknife, a needle and thread from my mothers sewing box, a wad of excelsior, a roll of string, a pair of glass eyes, some Borax, and a dead pigeon! Coat hangers were used for wire...don't go that route! Yours largest expense item will be a bird flesher. Don't waste money on a tumbler. I have one I made 40 years ago and never use it. I purchased a pet groomer off eBay for $60, and that thing will sho' nuff dry a bird. Hand paint bills, beaks and feet, and you can cut the air compressor and air brush for now. Take the plunge and make sure that taxidermy is for you before tossing thousands of dollars at it.
    3bears likes this.
  5. Crittrstuffr

    Crittrstuffr Active Member

    Here's my 2 cents . . . Stay away from mallards and wood ducks and maybe teal. Start with divers as they are very user friendly. The skin will stretch and not tear as easily. I used a pair of scissors and sometimes still do for the bulk fat before the wheel. Washing is vitally important. Wash in Dawn and use a lot of it in warm water then rinse until no soap bubbles are present then rinse one more time. Stay away from gas treatment for de-greasing YOU DO NOT NEED TOO! Then you can invert a shop-vac so it blows instead of vacuuming. Dry the bird so the under down is dry and totally fluffed up. The borax you need is the laundry type 20 Mule Team you can find anywhere. As mentioned measure the body of the bird and get a body that meets those measurements (I personally like Shane Smith) but that's just a preference thing with me. Then it's just bird after bird making mistakes and trying to improve on every mount. Then move to Mallards and the such. They're not impossible just need a softer touch once again takes time. Your Hooded Merganser is an easy bird to flesh but they come with some anatomical issues as in the necks are huge and the crest is tough to get right. Don't over think it just jump in and give yourself the learning curve we've all used in the past. Pheasants are good to learn on because all the feather groups are different colors and easy to see and are simple to flesh. JMO Good luck and welcome to the bird world it's fun Stay safe
  6. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Please don't start with a dove...you will retire early in your career!
    Crowkiller, Clew, 15pt and 1 other person like this.
  7. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Start with a dove?
    You will be done with birds in ten minutes
    3bears likes this.
  8. Dave York

    Dave York Well-Known Member

    Add Woodcock or snipe to that
  9. Dave York

    Dave York Well-Known Member

    Just a tip I got from a beginner. He got this from the old Northwest school of taxidermy he said. On those really fatty mallards teal or woodies. Lightly wheel them just enough to get that thin skin off the fat. Put borax on the skin, put in a plastic bag and in the refrigerator overnight. Next day rinse off and flesh. It toughens up the skin.
    Guy came to my place years back for some training. He brought a woody with borax on it. I said you will be sorry you brought this to do. He’d never used a wire wheel before. Not one tear when he finished. He made me a believer.
    tazzymoto and joeym like this.