How Taxidermy Works

Taxidermy Methods: Fowl

A worker touches up a zebra amidst a very fowl scene.
A worker touches up a zebra amidst a very fowl scene.
China Photos/Getty Images

The f­irst step in ­mounting a bird is to s­kin it. During this process all the meat and bones are removed, but the feet and talons are kept in place. After the bird is skinned and the excess fat is removed, the skin is washed in warm water with normal dish washing detergent to get it clean and non-greasy. The bird skin and feathers are then dried with a towel and hair dryer. This will fluff the feathers up. The remaining moisture is soaked up with a salt preservative.

­The next step is to turn the bird inside out and fill the head cavity with non-shrinking hard clay. The neck and body of the fowl is sculpted with polyurethane foam. Once the main body is ready, it's put aside, and wires are inserted in place of the wing, tail and leg bones. The wire is inserted under the skin of the wings and tied off with dental floss -- the same goes for the legs and tail.

At this point, the skin of the bird and the legs, wings and tail are taut from the wire. The foam body and neck are then inserted, and the wires from the legs, wings and tail are pushed into the body until firm. The molded neck sticks into the clay in the head area. The last step is to sew the bird up around the body mold using dental floss or carpet thread. Once the glass eyes are pushed into the clay socket, the bird is ready to be shaped into flying position and mounted.