Fritz’s Taxidermy

Bird Taxidermy

There are various types of taxidermy. We specialize in trophy preservation. This means we mount hunters’ game that they harvest (deer, elk, bear, birds, etc.).  The idea behind this type of taxidermy is to recreate the animal to look like it did when it was alive.  For our bird taxidermy services, we take in waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans), upland game (pheasants, quail, chukar, peacocks, grouse, and prairie chickens), and turkeys.

Proper Bird Taxidermy Actually Begins in the Field

The beginning of the bird taxidermy process begins in the field.  It starts with preparing the bird for the taxidermist.  This is especially important for birds because it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to recreate or replace feathers.  Basically, you are going to get back the same quality of the bird that you drop off.  To guarantee the best success of getting a great mount back, get the bird to us as soon as possible.  If you cannot do that, make sure the birds’ feathers are all smoothed down and wrap the feet and bill with wet paper towels.  Then tuck the head underneath one of the wings; put it in a trash bag and tightly roll the bag up while trying to get all the air out of it.  Tape it closed and freeze the bird.  Do not vacuum seal the birds please. This can break the feather quills.  In this condition, the bird should last up to at least 5 years in the freezer. 

Inspection Process

Once we receive the bird in the shop and/or allow the bird to thaw out (if frozen), we will examine the quality of the bird.  We are looking to see if this bird’s feathers are mature or if they have pin feathers, which equals a mount that is not smooth.  We also look to see if the bird is an adult with all its adult feathers or if it’s a juvenile bird that does not have all the ideal feather markings and patterns.  

Last, we look at the shot damage of the bird.  We use artificial heads on all waterfowl and some upland game so damage to the beak is not an issue.  However, too many pellets in the head, wing bones and leg bones may mean a mount that doesn’t meet your expectations.  A few imperfections are normal and easily fixed and we might suggest a specific position if we are worried about some kind of damage to make sure you get something back that is desirable.  At the end of the day, if we don’t think a bird is worthy of mounting we will let you know and tell you why.  Our biggest, utmost concern is that we mount something that you are not proud to put in your home.

Here’s What Happens Next

After we get the thumbs-up to proceed, we will skin the bird out and take measurements of the bird so we can re-create the artificial head, neck, and body to match the dead bird.  Once skinned out, we will repair any broken wing bones and or leg bones and begin to flesh the bird, which is the process of removing all the meat, grease, and fat from the skin, which is above and in-between the feather quills. 

After the bird has been fleshed, we wash it, wash it, and wash it.  Especially if it is a white bird, because have you ever tried getting blood out of something white?  It’s not a small feat and a good bird taxidermist will spend a significant amount of time washing the bird.

Now the fun begins. We take all the measurements from the dead bird and recreate the head, eyes, neck, and body.  The feet are injected with a type of plastic to preserve them for a long period of time.  Once we have the artificial body ready to go, we dry the bird skin and put it on the artificial body and move the body around in the position the customer wants the mount.  After mounting, it takes anywhere from a week or two for the mount to dry (skin) and then after a few minutes of finish work the bird will be ready to go home with the hunter.  

How Long Does It Take to Mount a Bird?

I can assure you that this process seems quite simple on paper, but I can guarantee you that it takes the patience of a saint to mount a bird.  A commonly asked question is “how long does it take to mount a bird”.  Well, that all depends on a lot of unknowns but to do a quality mount we spend about 8 hours per smaller bird and 2 days for larger birds like swans and turkeys and some geese.   We look forward to meeting you and preserving your trophies for a lifetime and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.


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