Taxidermy Part 1 (not for the faint hearted)

So I decided after the cracked dolly heads, the skulls and bones, I would have a go at taxidermy. And on that day a chaffinch dropped dead in my parents garden. After a month in my freezer I decided to give it a go. So I grabbed the essentials

imageTweezers, scalpel, cup of water to keep hands clean and insides moist, chaffinch, bottle of wine and minimal reading about how to taxidermy on the web. Now, I wasn’t sure if you should do this from frozen… but, the first cut is the deepest

image(1)And it was at this point I realised how skinny and fiddly little birds could be. I should have started on a rabbit. Maybe not at all. Wine still unopened.

image(2)I’ve got to admit there were points now where I was surprised how easy it was to peel the skin off the insides and I managed to get the breast and guts out very easily. Although cutting the neck bone was a bit daunting. I’m sure the chaffinch had broken its neck in the first place as it was pretty loose and the neck bones started falling out. After that there was snipping the wings and feet out, making sure to get as close as I could without snipping them off. Then I noticed the tail

image(3)This was when I realised the pelvic bone had not come away with the main part. It turned out to be pretty easy to peel off though and a few snips to separate from the tail. Now, the brain. I’ll be honest I have no idea to get it out. I had a few pokes and prods and more neck bones crumbled out. Decided to leave it, I didn’t really want to suck it out with a straw.

image(4)So then, one hollowed out chaffinch. Didn’t take as long as expected, about 20 minutes, and surprisingly the bottle of wine is intact and there were no losses of stomach fluids. (Just realised the photo has been taken on a weightloss advert, apt!)

image(5)Now for drying and cleaning, used a mixture of corn flour and soda crystals, I’m figuring it’s the same as borax and corn starch that was recommended on the US taxidermy instructions. Not sure how long to leave it, guess it’s best to leave it over night. Round two will be fun, I’m shit at sowing.

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About Shelly Still

Illustrator, skull collector, photographer, paint splatterer View all posts by Shelly Still

One response to “Taxidermy Part 1 (not for the faint hearted)

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