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may then be removed by passing the blade of the scalpel beneath the ball and severing the optic nerve, endeavoring not to burst the former, as the humor's contained within would then ooze out, and flowing through the eyelids, soil the feathers upon the head. Next cut away the tongue, together with the flesh beneath the mandibles and upon the various parts of the head, and through an opening made in the lower part of the skull carefully remove the brain. It is well to remark here that the heads of some birds are so large in comparison with the neck, as to render it impossible for the head to be turned out in the ordinary way without stretching the skin. In this case the vertebræ of the neck should be separated close to the skull, the body taken out and laid aside, and the head pulled back into its natural position. An incision is then made through the skin upon the back of the head, large enough to permit the passage of the skull, and this should then be cleaned in the same manner as stated above. Ducks, woodpeckers, flamingoes, macaws, etc., come under this rule. After the preservative has been applied to every part, and the cavities of the brain and eye filled with cotton, restore it to position, being careful to sew up the incision neatly. The wings should next be turned out, exposing two joints. The humerus may then be removed, but the double bone, consisting of the radius and the ulna, should be carefully cleaned and allowed to remain. Many taxidermists prefer to have all the bones left in their places. This, I think, should be a rule in preparing dried skins, as the wings retain their position better; but when a skin is to be mounted at once, I remove the humerus, and then find it much easier to set them. It is also a practice with many, in lieu of turning the wings, to make a longitudinal incision beneath the wing, running the length of the two first joints, and through this to remove the flesh. Lastly, the legs should be skinned, removing all the flesh, and leaving in the fibula or thigh bone. If the skin is to be mounted at once, anoint it thoroughly with powdered arsenic applied with the sifter; but if not, use the arsenical soap, because it can then be softened more readily when required for mounting. Fill the eye-sockets and cavity of the skull with cotton. Restore the leg and wing bones to position. To accomplish the latter, take hold of the tips of each, and pulling them from each other, they will easily slip into place. In turning the head back, take hold of the twine which is fastened to the bill, pulling it gently and steadily, working with the fingers when necessary, taking great care not to stretch or tear the skin of the neck. Smooth the feathers upon the various parts of the skin, and the specimen is ready for mounting.

The method of mounting a bird.-Having furnished yourself with tow, cotton, needle and thread, annealed iron wire of a size proportionate to that of the bird to be mounted, and the necessary instruments, including the large and small forceps, file, pincers, wire cutters, scissors, etc., proceed to cut fine a quantity of tow sufficient to fill the neck. With the long forceps seize a small bunch of this and insert it up through the neck and deposit it under the bill; in this manner fill from beneath the lower mandible down to the breast taking care not to insert too much stuffing or to place it unevenly. Next cut three pieces of wire ; one a third longer than the total length of the body, for the main support, the other two threc inches longer than the united length of the tursus and fibula, for the leg supports; also four smaller ones five inches in length, for setting the wings and winding purposes. Sharpen each of these with the file to a fine point. Take the longest piece and bend in it three small rings, the distance between the two outer ones representing the length of the carcass of the bird, leaving one long and one short end, in the same manner as recommended in stuffing small quadrupeds. Tow should be wound about the end containing the rings, and moulded into the natural form of the body. This being completed, place the longest projecting end within the skin at the base of the neck stuffing,

Fig. 37.


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anl holding the head of the bird in the left hand, letting the skin hang down, with the right, insert it up through the cut tow within the neck, and thence through the top of the skull. Care must be taken not to push too hard, for by so doing you may displace the stuffing, but rather twirl the wire between the thumb and forefinger, when it will be found to penetrate easily. The skin must then be drawn over the artificial body, and the leg wires placed in position. The latter is done by placing the pointed end upon the sole of the foot, and forcing it up through the tarsus, between the skin and the bone, until the point has reached the first joint. The leg bones should then be turned out again, when the wire will appear as in Fig. 37 A, w. It should then be forced up a little above the top of the fibula, and cotton wound about both. This should be made to resemble the form of the flesh, which has been removed, and bound about with thread to prevent it from slipping (Fig. 37 b,l). The whole may then be turned back into its proper place. Now hold the protruding point against the side of the artificial body, about midway between the extremities, and force the wire through transversely, until it appears upon the opposite side, care being taken not to penetrate the skin. The end should be bent into the form of a hook, when, by taking hold of the protruding wire at the sole of the foot, and pulling it towards yourself, the hook will be firmly fastened into the body. The incision should now be closed up, by bringing the edges of the skin together, and made fast in this position with common pins; with ducks and larger birds it is necessary to sew up the lips of the incision. The legs are next brought towards each other, bending the wires close to the body until they are parallel. The joint of the fibula and tarsus should also be imitated. The bird is now ready to place upon a pedestal. All perching and climbing species should be mounted upon stands formed like the letter T; the

*8, skin; s, fibula; w, wire; 1, artificial leg.


Fig. 38. *


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waders, swimmers, and all other species which frequent the land or water, ought to be placed upon flat pieces of board.

The neck can now be bent into position, and the head directed either to the front or side, according to the taste of the operator. The wings are next raised up, and placed against the sides of the body, in the same position as when the bird was living, and fistened in place by means of the short wires forced through the shoulder into the

body (Fig. 38,6). The tail is supported by means of a wire inserted beneath the tail feathers and passed into the body (e).

In placing birds in certain positions, it is necessary to spread the tail feathers. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways. First, by running a small pointed wire through the shaft of every feather; this method, however, is not applicable to very small birds. Another is to take il piece of cardboard, somewhat longer than the width of the tail spread out to its full extent, and cut a horizontal slit in it of the required length; the feathers are inserted in the slit, and are retained in whatever position they have been placed. This method is practiced only upon small birds. A third method is to take a piece of wire of small size and bend it double, pressing the bent end firmly together with the pincers; the tail feathers are then arranged between the two, that is with one wire above and the other beneath them. The two loose ends are then brought together and twisted to prevent them from springing apart; also to hold the feathers more firmly (Fig. 38,f). The latter method is applicable to birds of any size. The two remaining short wires should

. next be inserted into the body, one upon the back just below the curve of the neck, the other above the rump (c and l). These are used for convenience in winding, and can be removed after the specimen is dry. The feathers should be placed each in its proper place by means of the small forceps. If the eyes are not sufficiently plump a little cotton can be inserted through the eyelids, with a small quantity of putty, by which the glass eyes will be more firmly fixed; the latter operation should receive much care, the eye should have its natural fulness, and the eyelids should be well rounded. The bird should then be bound with thread, wound about the various protruding wires. This operation is done to keep the feathers in place until they are firmly fixed. A bird should not be allowed to dry too quickly, as the skin is then liable to shrink, but it should be placed in some dry place, not too warm, where the skin can gradually stiffen. When dry remove the thread, pull out the wires upon the back, and with the wire cutters, clip off the remainder close to the body. To insure success, the taxidermist should have a correct knowledge of the habits of birds, that he may place his subject in a position characteristic of the species. The measures previously taken will aid in securing accuracy of form.

*a, her I wire; cand d, back wires; b, wing support; e, tail support; j; tail-preader.

Taxidermists, as a general thing, are apt to overstuff their specimens, and the beginner should strive to avoid this. There are several attitudes assumed by birds in the living state, which can be copied with advantage. To represent a bird in the flying position, its wings should be extended as far as possible, the tail placed horizontal and well expanded, the neck stretched forward and the legs drawn up close to the breast, with the toes closed. The wings may be spread by means of pointed wires inserted from the inside of the body, up through the wings beneath the skin, as far as the carpus, or fore arm. The wire can also be inserted from the outside near the joint of the carpus, and be forced down the wing between the skin and the bone, and thence transrersely through the artificial body, into which it is fastened by means of a hook. These wires should be inserted before the leg wires are placed in position, and hooked into the artificial body, as in the former case. An interesting atti

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