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Bird Taxidermy The Basic Manual

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Harpy Eagle Construction

The skin I washed and rehydrated the same way as the feet ,sadly when the skin was salted the flight tendon was not removed and this area did not hydrate as good as the skin and did take a lot of work to remove, doing so caused damage to the skin. Once the skin was dried and feathered I could see the quality of the bird, this eagle did not have a full crest and had large amount pen and half grown feathers. I started by remounting the model binding the legs with fine wood wool, fixing the legs to the body to smooth the wires I taped around the body. Then fixing the finished cast head to the body. I made the wings from 12 and 10 mm doweling these were wired and taped up these were then placed in the skin and the wing was stitched up, the wings were then fixed to the body were not a tight fit to leave room for movement and filler. With the skin being the size it was I held it up with a rope and lowered it down over the body to start working around the base of the legs I started by putting in a few temporary stitches to help me line up the skin around the base of the leg, I glued the skin around this area with super glue gel.
Once both sides were glued I undid the temporary stiches and start to stich up the inside of each leg using one stich at a time around 20mm apart from the base of the leg skin to about half way up the side of the main incision. Now to start stitching up from the vent to the chest once I got to the centre I started to have problems lining the skin up and this is the time I knew the body was too short. Once I had stitched past this point the skin lined up again, to stop the head from drying out I wet paper towel and packed the inside the skin around the head before bagging the head this was the end of day one.
With the eagle now mounted I could start day two by checking the legs and body before moving onto the wings, these were without a doubt the hardest part of this whole mount. The wings I had made was a very basic shape and needed packing with wood wool and paste. with the wings finished I could start on the head making sure the skin was damp and not drying out as far as the base of the neck. Fixing the eyes with critter clay I used the eyes supplied by my customer. Pasting the back of the neck the skin was pulled over the head before gluing the skin to the head, I pasted around the top of the head and the sides of the face. Starting gluing the skin to the top of the beak then once dry I working around and down each side of the face. Before gluing the skin on the underside if the head I pasted the neck and underside of the head. Then after a few more hours of feathering I was happy with the eagle from the photos you can see the extra wires I had fixed to the branch then bent back to help support the wings.

Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction
Harpy Eagle Construction

Posted 08/01/2017