Taxidermy supplies and tips > Bird taxidermy > Mounting large birds

Mounting large birds

The same principles employed in the manipulation of smaller species apply to this class with but a few variations. On account of their size and weight the artificial bodies need to be especially firm in order to afford a secure anchorage for the wing and leg wires. Also these supports should be fastened to the bones in several places with stout cord or small wire, as wrapping with the tow and thread
used on small birds is hardly sufficient.

What I would class as being large birds are the larger hawks, owls, herons, eagles, geese, etc. The several varieties of the ostrich
are known as colossal birds and are skinned and preserved much as the large quadrupeds by mounting the prepared skin on a manikin, built in the pose of the finished specimen and supported by heavy iron rods.

In mounting eagles or similar birds with wings spread, which seems to be a popular attitude, use the largest wires possible as anything less than that will, on account of their size and wide extent, tend to a drooping, back-boneless appearance entirely out of keeping.

It goes without saying that large birds do not require the delicate handling of small ones, but by way of compensation
considerable force is needed.

The combs and wattles of domestic and wild fowls cannot by any common process be prevented from shriveling and discoloring while drying, but when dry they may be restored by careful modeling in colored wax. This is applied warm with a brush and given its final finish with hot metal modeling tools. For museum work and other high grade work such heads are cast entire in wax in such a way that all feathers and hair are attached in their precise places.

Large water fowl are often mounted as flying and suspended by a very fine wire. A sharpened wire with a ring turned in one end, thrust into the middle of the back and clinched in the body, forms a secure point of suspension.

In the case of a bird which has been wired and sewn up seeming to require further filling out, it can be accomplished in most cases by making an incision under each wing and introducing some flakes of tow with a wire stuffing tool. If the bird is mounted with closed wings this slit need not even be sewed up as, the folded wing covers it completely.