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WING"TIPS" # 28 Long term freezing/storing birds

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by wingman, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. wingman

    wingman Active Member

    Hello, Here is a tip I think will be useful to most of us ''procrastinators'' OR those of us who just never have enough time in a day...... Here is a GREAT, Proven method on long term storage of bird skins. Its quite simple so here goes. I skin, wash and rinse the skinned out bird, you can leave the meat/neck/head in if preferred I usually remove the head and carcass, Next make a tracing of the body/neck onto the ziplock bag, you can also write down any pertinent info IE migratory tag etc, measurements etc. THEN I put the rinsed skin into the ziplock, fill it a little over half full of water, zip it up to within the last inch, bounce it up and down to remove the air pockets/bubbles, then as you start to push some water out the small opening zip it completely shut, You may need to remove the airpocket a couple times as it's important to get ALL the air out. Then I lay the bag on a piece of small plywood, adjust the skin inside to try to get primaries and head skin away from the edges of the bag and then freeze. I have a ''freezer museum'' of birds packed in this manner and they last forever with no ill effects. The feet will be as supple as the day you put it in the bag. Look at the black scoter on my Bird of the week, that bird was frozen like this January 8, 1993 18 years later I thawed it out and it mounted up like a fresh skin 16 years was my last ''longest'' time in ice so I do personally know it works well.ALWAYS buy the best quality ziplock freezer bags... The following pics show a few of the ''steps'' GOOD LUCK!!!!
  2. wingman

    wingman Active Member

    And one showing a hun ''brick'' and the can in the background>

  3. taxos

    taxos Finches, Buntings

  4. Very nice I think I'll give it a try.
  5. Peter Span

    Peter Span Corvids, gotta catch them all!

    18 years?! Thats amazing!
  6. txoutdoors

    txoutdoors Active Member

    Great info....i love the "wingtips" posts. Learning a lot!
  7. JLW

    JLW Member

    wingman, Awesome idea. I'll give that a try. JLW/Wagner's taxidermy ;)
  8. tom k

    tom k New Member

    Wingman when you unthaw the birds do you let the water melt and drain off or do you keep the bag closed and let it thaw in the water. Would it work to thaw in your bucket with running water. It just seems like a long time to sit in water. Just trying to get a handle on doing birds, only tried it once and it was not pretty. Thanks Tom
  9. almt1012

    almt1012 New Member

    great tip!!
  10. Lisa M

    Lisa M Swing like no one is watching...lol

    Thank you SO much for sharing this method wingman!
  11. stuffinducks

    stuffinducks New Member

    Nice tip Wingman.

    I started doing the same thing a few years ago through trial and error. Yes, they come out just like you said, but 18 years...dude that's a long time! I also like the drawing tip!

  12. Trashfish

    Trashfish It's not easy being me!!

    Do you defat and degrease your bird before or after you freeze the skin?
  13. wingman

    wingman Active Member

    Tomk, you can ''powerthaw'' the ice away or remove the bag and let it thaw overnight in the sink, I usually will put the skin in water to assist in thawing, Trashfish, you can degrease etc BUT I usually leave that for later.
  14. Trashfish

    Trashfish It's not easy being me!!

    Thanks, That is a really great idea!! It just might allow me more freezer space.
  15. SteveP

    SteveP New Member

    Thanks Wingman, I freeze all whole birds for which I have the right size ziplock. But as you can imagine, that fills a small chest freezer pretty quick. I will start skinning them first from now on. Of course, when I put a bird in the freezer, I don't intend on leaving it there long. ;) :D
  16. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Active Member

    I assume you're doing this with your own personal birds that take forever to get too. ;D But what do you do with the tags?
  17. Avian Art

    Avian Art Just a Bird Brain

    Wingman, thank you for this, and the many great “Wing ‘Tips.’" With tips like this one, you teach us to be not just better at taxidermy, but better at organization.

    After reading and rereading your tips, I am very impressed with your high degree of professionalism. It shows in the pictures of your immaculate, and well-organized shop, which we have seen in your photos. It shows in the methods you've developed, and to which you adhere. And, it shows in the high quality of mounts you display on a regular basis on this site.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge with us all. You are a credit to this art and profession.

    - Dave
  18. wingman

    wingman Active Member

    WOW! Thats the best compliment I think I could recieve THANKS! :)
  19. mitchson1

    mitchson1 New Member

    thanks for the tip
  20. Mrwhttail


    thanks for the tip, always wondered that on birds.