Preparing a Bird Skin for Mounting
In removing the skin from a bird, the body should be dusted from time to time with corn meal, or fine sawdust. This absorbs all moisture, and prevents the plumage from being soiled.
When preparing the skin, place the bird on its back, and run a long piece of cotton loosely down the throat with forceps, or by twisting it around the end of a wire. If the specimen is a large bird, plug the nostrils with cotton, to prevent the saliva from oozing and soiling the plumage. Break the wing bones near the body to facilitate handling. Make a longitudinal cut from the breastbone to the bent, and push the body away from the skin with the knife, holding the skin firmly between the thumb and fingers of the left hand, and cutting as little as possible.
When the skin has been removed far enough to expose the shins, slip them up and un-joint them at the knee, and cut through the flesh until the skin is lain bare. Flay down to the vent, cut off the extremity of the body which holds the tail feathers, and remove the skin to the wings, cutting through them where broken. Flay to below the eyes, cut off the neck, close t the head, and remove the triangular lower portion of the skull, taking out the brains. Remove the eyes, by sliding the brain-spoon under them, with a circular motion. Cut away all flesh from the skull, leg, and wing bones, unjointing the broken main bones of the wings form the double bones or forearms. In preparing some species of birds, with large heads and small necks, such as wood-ducks, green-wing teal, some species of woodpeckers, cockatoos, etc., it is best to pen the scalp from the outside after the body has been severed from the skull and the skin returned. The incision may be made lengthwise of the dead, back of the eye, or along the top of the head; the latter mode is much more desirable for birds with crests.
Pass a thread between the bones of both wings, and draw them nearly together, and tie in position. Dust the whole fleshy side of the skin freely with Borax, crowd the eye-holes full of cotton, wrap the leg-bones with the same, draw them back in natural position, and return the skin. Should the neck become stretched, and difficult to return, soap will cause it to slip over the head easily.
Smooth the plumage, fill out the body with stuffing, sew up the skin, cross the legs, tie them, and wrap the skin closely in thin cotton or paper.
In filling out a skin, a piece of the stuffing should be made in a taper roll, and the small end pushed up into the throat of the bird. Other pieces should be laid in the body of the skin until it is full, previous to sewing it up. This will prevent the neck of the bird from drawing and drying in a long unnatural form.
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