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First Time Owl Mount

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Untethered-Curiosity, Aug 17, 2022.

  1. Hi All.

    I will be attempting my first bird mount, a Northern Hawk Owl (I am not in the US and I have the required permits). It was legally given to me by a raptor rehabber as its been thawed and refroze a few times, so they weren't sure if its good for taxidermy but figured it would be a good learning experience regardless.

    My questions are:

    Do I remove the wingbone past the bend of the wing? A previous video I've watched said to do this, and just fill with fiberglass yarn and heavy wire after. If not, Im assuming I have to skin down to the tip (detaching the secondaries?) and remove the meat and pad it up again.

    Same with the leg bones, do I remove at the at the knee joint, leaving the lower leg, etc. in the leg?

    As for posing, I am wanting to do the owl doing a landing, wings spread. I have my mount which I've made ready to go, just wanted to collect any last minute tips from the experts before I get started:) Thanks!
    Robert Baker likes this.
  2. Dark Man

    Dark Man Well-Known Member

    Owls are kind of a pain in the ass,mainly because they are all wings and have really little bodies in comparison.do not remove any of the wing bones,especially if it is going to be a flying mount.a few things I’ve learned mounting owls.

    The legs will actually skin down a little bit past the knee joint,make sure to roll the skin down enough to get all the meat out.

    If you don’t want to carve a body from scratch,you can order an upland game bird body,and with a little you bit of rasping it can match a raptor body.they are more similar than you think.
    Even if it’s a standing mount wire the wings! It’s a major pain is the ass using only pins,I made that mistake once.

    9/10 (at least if you’re me) raptors will be completely destroyed and in very bad plumage.charge accordingly and take the condition of the birds anatomy and plumage into consideration and suggest a pose you think would be best.

    good luck!
    Robert Baker and Jim McNamara like this.

  3. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

    I use all the bones. Helps loads when you have a hip attachment and wing attachment for posing. You can skin under the wing and remove the meat and tendons and retain the secondary wing attachments. Just use cotton or such to fill and sew it up. If it's a flyer I add caulk around the secondary quill ends and the bone and then fill. I think it gives a stronger hold against gravity over time.
    Robert Baker likes this.
  4. CJMartin

    CJMartin Member

    There is a guy on Facebook at Art of Taxidermy who does lots of raptors. He is on the site i just can't remember his handle here. He also works with Falcons.
  5. Inject your eyes after you mold and cast the head ,take calipers and measure the distance from the injected eye to the back of the skull then the farthest edge of the eye to the farthest edge of the other eye so you can get proper depth and alignment . Owl eyes stick very very far out and I don't believe most taxidermist put them out far enough. Once you pull the head out of the mold the eyes will sink and when you inject you'll see how far they stick out . Make sure you tuck the eyes well ,they have a little "slot" the skin goes into between the eye and the skull . You'll see that when you inject the eyes. Make sure you thicken up the back of the lip line some with epoxy and not have a smiling or frowning bird . Best way to paint the beak is just a solid coat of a base . Then take oil paints with a good hair paint brush and lightly touch up spots and build the depth and seal between layers . To get your "ears" correct on the bird you'll need a good eye set to get the skin in the right spot and flesh the head really good .keep in mind the neck part of the skin it does expand alot and needs proper tucking in and match reference . Barred owls are a good one to see how they can expand and contract and have different plumage showing . It's better to over inject at first your legs . They shrink alot and have alot of tendon and space in there feet . Watch it hard for at least 4 days that's when it will dry the most. Owls are very breasty birds make sure you gotta good chest and can move the skin around alot. Don't make the fit too tight ,but if it's going to be flying being a little on the tighter side is better than real lose. If you rebuild your junctions and skeleton . ie (right length and width,right wing attachments leg attachments as well as tail ) you'll be fine
    Wildthings likes this.
  6. Crittrstuffr

    Crittrstuffr Well-Known Member

    There was a guy on here by the name of Falco I've wondered if it's the same gentleman? If not their both great at Raptors
  7. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    His handle is Falco. He is Ben Knam from Canada on YouTube. Great videos for beginners but the training videos are included in the Members Only section that runs about $14 month.