We have survived the paint-thinner-induced haze and prepped our pheasants, mallards and turkey for mounting. Today we began the reanimation process. We started with our pheasants. Dennis says the best thing about birds is the wide array of poses one can use in mounting them. They can soar majestically with their beautiful wings fanned out, race to escape the grasp of a hungry bobcat, fly up, fly down – you get the idea. While my classmates went for excitement, my bird decided to take a nice relaxing walk.
Mounting birds is a bit different from mounting mammals. When you mount a bird, you use a manikin which looks roughly like a grocery store roasting chicken. You use strategically placed wire, string and cotton to do the rest. Here are the steps in case you wondered (do not try this at home):
1. Make a fake neck out of some foam caulk cover (looks like pipe insulation)
2. Wire that foam and attach to neck by inserting the wire into the back of the birds skull which is now filled with critter clay.
3. Feed wires through the feet and up the legs (we removed the tendons earlier to make room).
4. Feed wires through the wings for majestic flying potential. As my bird is apparently flightless, he skipped the wing wires.
5. Add some cotton and string to the wing and leg bones/wires.
6. Attach wires to manikin, sew it up, pose it and presto!
It all sounds quite simple until you actually try to do it. In order to get all of these wires to go all of these small places you must first sharpen the ends on a grinder to razor sharpness. What could possibly go wrong?
Rob and Zach arrived early today so that they could begin to do the finish work on the deer mounts they made the week before I arrived.
Dennis demonstrates the intricate wiring system.
Notice that he is essentially pushing a razor sharp wire towards his hand. Somehow he does this without ever impaling himself.
Dennis sews up his wired bird.
Poor Clarence, this process is very undignified.
Rob’s turkey in an equally undignified position.
Ho hum. Clarence is depressed that he must walk instead of flying. He is also missing his tail at the moment, which does not help.
Zach’s fast-flying pheasant. Clarence thinks that pheasant is a show off.
Wow, that is one big, headless turkey.
This is a bit better.
The Walleye Dennis caught last night. He will be fried up later this week. His skin was also saved for mounting.