1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Difficult Bird Mounts

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Terrys Artistic Taxidermy, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. Terrys Artistic Taxidermy

    Terrys Artistic Taxidermy Fishing in Chernoble

    Here are some photos of the more difficult bird mounts I've done. For many years, I would think of the hardest thing to do and then try to do it. Unless acknowledged, none of these were made for a competition. If the viewer wants to critique a mount, provide a photo of a mount you've done that has a similar scale of difficulty. Otherwise your comment isn't welcome. Bird skins don't stretch very well and the metal rods and sheet steel that are inside the excelsior bodies, make sewing the skin on - tough. So, here we go:
    About 7 years ago my computer crashed and I lost over 4,000 photos. This is the only angle I still have of this mount, made in 1989. (Above).

    In 1980, a man showed up at my studio in Colorado and asked if I wanted this dead swan that he had ordered from somewhere and it arrived dead. I said "Sure!". It was moulting and lost around 1000 pin feathers during the wire wheeling and degreasing process. The wing span was 96". I wanted only one feather touching the base as it barely touched the water. This was mounted before I knew about gluing the skin to the body!

    Four ducks held up by the tail of the lowest one. 1/4" steel rods passing through each duck. It took me 16 hours of non stop work to get this put together AFTER having all the ducks ready to be mounted at the same time. This is one of the most difficult pieces that I've ever done. (Around 1982).
    This was one of the first mounts I put outdoors for a photo. The snake body is 1/4 " steel rod wrapped with excelsior with the hawk's leg wires pre connected to the snake manniken. These mounts require some contemplating on the correct placement of the leg wires. The museum I made this for really liked the mount. They weren't expecting the free snake.

    2 pheasants  (wing support) back.jpg
    One of the toughest mounts I've done. The engineering of the structural base in the lower pheasant's body and the conversion of the 1/4" steel rod to a 12Gauge spring steel wire was very difficult. There's not a lot of space to work with on the last bone in a pheasant's wing.
    This was done in 1979. Below, another angle:
    2 pheasants (wing support) front.jpg
    Old photos scanned by a friend in 2010 don't show the detail as much as I'd like.
    Henry Inchumuk told me that there should be a difficulty factor added in to mounts like this, when being judged for a competition, as is done in high diving. Some people might win a blue ribbon with a small bird that has both wings closed and even the toes hidden. I like to show ever feather and frequently,the tongue.

    A bald eagle flying away with a rattle snake that I did for a school district museum near Denver, CO around 1982. I made a plaster mould of the snake and then embedded a 3/8 " steel rod in the resin body. In the late 1970's to the mid 1980's I was very fortunate to mount
    many protected species for that museum.
    During that period, they hired me to mount a golden eagle sitting on a branch (for $100) and a kangaroo rat (for $40) sitting on a log. Once the eagle (which was electrocuted on high tension wires) was thawed and I was opening it's wings and legs, I realized that I couldn't waste it - sitting on a branch. So I took a fox out of my freezer and mounted up 'IT'S A RESTAURANT OUT THERE'. (The fox is biting the neck skin of the rat, taking it to it's pups to teach them how to kill it and doesn't realize that the eagle has the same plans for it.) A 3/8" steel rod goes up the foxes leg, is wrapped in the excelsior body and then welded to 1/4" rod that comes through the tail and has a 90 degree upward bend into the eagles body. I folded over 2 tail feathers to hide the steel rod. That was the best $140 the museum ever spent. (But I ended up making $36,000 from the sale of the photo, enlarged to a 20" X 24" (or 30") print at $500 / photo. I've sold 78 out of the limited edition of 200, but haven't offered any more for sale since 2000). (Below).
    Image_61263456456 copy.jpg

    In 1986 I moved to Aspen, CO to create the International Endangered Wildlife Museum, in memory of my late fiancee, Jayme McLean. I worked non stop for 7 years to make it a reality, but lack of funding finally stopped my dreams. I was promised the dead endangered species from the San Diego Zoo (140 different types) and 3 other zoos. The USF&WS gave me the permits I needed and I lined up the world's greatest talents to do the work. (Unfortunately, I was backstabbed by a developer that bought the land the headquarters were located on that I was renting. He didn't donate the $15,000 he had promised.) The money that I made from the sale of the above photo went towards creating the Museum as did the money from the sale of the photo below:
    "BREAKFAST AT THE BELLS". 1987 Suspending the mount and creating the splash was a fun mental exercise. This area is the most photographed in the United States (at least in 1986) and I had to get a special permit from the US Forest Service to do it. Image how spectacular this photo would have been if the aspen trees in the background were in their golden, yellow phase? Then again, this is the only photo(s) with an eagle grabbing a trout out of Maroon Lake.
    (Rick Laurienti mounted the fish reproduction).

    I made about a dozen of these fighting pheasant mounts while living in Aspen for 14 years.
    These pieces made their way into some famous, very wealthy people's homes.
    It looks like this is all I can upload at once. In a few days, I'll add another 10 photos to this thread.
    Terry Doyle
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Awesome creativity! Thanks for sharing!
    msestak likes this.

  3. Terrys Artistic Taxidermy

    Terrys Artistic Taxidermy Fishing in Chernoble

    Thanks. There's some more to come soon.
  4. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    This is absolutely outstanding. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!!
    magicmick likes this.
  5. Terrys Artistic Taxidermy

    Terrys Artistic Taxidermy Fishing in Chernoble

    Here's some more mounts that require a lot more effort:
    (Opposite side of that last mount).

    The ringneck pheasant is held up by the Lady Amhearst with a 1/4" steel rod hidden in the tail feathers and painted to match the feather colors.

    Below) This golden eagle is held up by what looks like one of the weeds, that bends over and touches the body. I took a lot of photos of me getting attacked by my mounts. Of course, this mount was done for a museum (chasing a rabbit) that had a federal permit from the USF&WS. Around 1983.


    This mongoose / black pheasant mount was done in 2010. On Maui there are ringneck, blue, green and black pheasants. When the ringneck mates with the others, the offspring have fantastic color patterns, each one different. They are called "hapa pheasants" which means half and half. This is just a bland, dark green one.
    Here's another angle:
    IMG_4345_2 copy.JPG
    Here's a closeup of the mongoose head:
    mongoose 1.jpg

    When I moved to Maui in 2001, I mounted up these roosters to put on display at the annual agricultural show, The Ulapalakua Thing, to let people know that there was a taxidermist on the island.
    DSCN2454 copy.jpg
    Afterwoods, between studios,
    I didn't have a place to put them and they were in a shed for a few years. In 2007 I decided to enter a fish mount at the World Taxidermy Championships in Reno. There was some room in the crate, so I got rid of the mouse turds and spider webs and blew the feathers with an air compressor. They took a second place in the professional division.

    Here's a very difficult mount done around 1999:
    To get the goose to behave like it does. the feather the fox is biting is made out of sheet steel, textured and painted, and welded to fake (steel) wing bones and a very stiff excelsior body. (Every animal in these photos has an excelsior, wrapped body.
    Another angle:
    Well, that's the limit for photos. I'll post some more soon.
    Take it easy,
    Terry Doyle
    magicmick and Wildthings like this.
  6. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    Thanks Terry and the commentaries are also appreciated!!
  7. Terrys Artistic Taxidermy

    Terrys Artistic Taxidermy Fishing in Chernoble

    Here's a few more. Let me know what you think.
    The longest tail feather was made out of sheet steel, textured and painted to match the other feathers. About 1998. (I wish I could have entered this in a competition. ) And a closeup of the pheasant:

    This one required some welding. Three pheasants off of 1 weed:
    Done on Maui around 2005.

    Here's another shot of that bald eagle I did for the Museum I was trying to create in Aspen.
    scan0017_4 copy.jpg
    This is from 1987. This bird was found dead on a lake bank in Alaska and the USF&WS up there sent it to me. There wasn't any gun shot wounds and I don't know why it died.
    That's it for now. Some of the more difficult birds that I've mounted for various scientific organizations and museums in Hawaii are albatross. They have a huge wingspan and their skull and beak are so big that it's best to skin the skull out , make a mould and use a resin one in the mount.
    Terry Doyle
    Wildthings, magicmick and BrookeSFD16 like this.