Unlike the mammal course which was entirely dedicated to one critter (the as yet unnamed fabulous Mr. Fox), we will complete two birds during the bird course. Yesterday, we prepared our pheasants for mounting, they are currently cooling their spurs in the refrigerator. Today, we began preparing our mallard ducks.
While the pheasants were relatively fit and trim, the ducks seem to be candidates for high blood pressure medication and perhaps a low fat diet. We made the same incisions as yesterday, working with wings and feathers to prepare our mounts. After that it got gross.
Ducks have a thick layer of fat just below the skin. If you do not fully remove this fat before mounting, all kinds of bugs will soon be devouring your mount. Enter the “fleshing machine.” This little gizmo has a wire brush rotating at a fast rate of speed. We spent about 2 hours running our ducks through the rigors of the flesher. Maybe it was the paint thinner fumes, but I found myself wondering if I might be able to build a larger version to use on my thighs. (Perhaps that is for another day.) After the fleshing, we did the usual Dawn and paint thinner job and finished off with the blow dryer.
As Rob brought a turkey to class, he is skipping the mallard to work on his huge turkey.
Dennis demonstrates how to remove the skull as we will be using a fake head on our mallard.
Mark and Mike look on.
Rob works on his giant turkey.
The fleshing machine, I tried to share a slightly less gross photo. You get the idea.
My mallard rinsing.
In the process of drying.
Fake head prepped for mounting.
What did you expect to see in the backyard of a taxidermy school?