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  • Urgent-Immediate response needed!

    Waxtuygi,

    I'll make this quick! I live in the sticks for those that don't know. My neighbor was walking his property and along the tree line found a hawk. It's dead, but the body is limp. It hasn't been dead long. How can I preserve it? What should I do with the wings, the feet, the skull? Please give me your ideas! I'm guessing I should put it on ice so that's where I'm headed.

    Huya,
    Jim

  • #2
    First of all...hide it...unless your NDN. You never know when a fed is watching. But it wouldnt matter now, would it?

    Thats really all I have to say, I dont deal with feathers much since I can only use turkey and such. Dont really matter if they get messy, I just buy new ones!!!
    The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

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    • #3
      I'm Native yall, and so is my neighbor. We just don't know what to do.

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      • #4
        Until you decide what you want to do with the bird, wrap it good in plastic and stick it in the freezer. It'll keep for months that way.

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        • #5
          I'm wondering things like "how to I remove the feet, and keep them from stinking", etc? Should I let certain parts of the hawk soak in salt water to draw the fluid out? How do I get to the skull? Do I boil it down until the flesh moves away? Stuff like that...

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          • #6
            The skin on the feet and legs is fairly thin, unless you want them up to the thigh . Once they are removed they will dry out pretty easily on their own. If you are in a humid climate, you may want to put them in a baggie, with salt. If you want them opened, arrange them while they are still limber. As for wings, they can be treated in a similar fashion. If you plan on saving the body, you need to remove the internal parts, and wipe salt on the inside of the body cavity. This removes moisture, and retards bacterial growth.

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            • #7
              cut the feet off at the knee joint and submerge them in salt after you place them in the position you want them to dry in.
              Pull all the feathers you want loose, clean the body cavity like you would a chicken, the head...well bury it and let nature clean it for you..they are a little soft for boiling.
              Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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              • #8
                That's the direction I was headed with the hawk tomorrow morn. Thanks Blackbear. How long should the feet be submerged in salt water?

                Huya,
                Jim

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                • #9
                  Not salt water..just salt....they will still rot in water...salt will draw out all moisture and mummify them so to speak.
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Oh...oops...how long should they be allowed to dry out in the salt?

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                    • #11
                      As far as letting nature do it's thing with the skull, I'm sure I have some pretty hefty ant piles in the backyard. Afterit has been cleaned, shoud the skull and beak be soaked in bleach?

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                      • #12
                        not sure how long to let the feet dry...our eagle talons are still drying and it has been about 8 weeks..(at least the hubby says they are'nt done yet). The skull ...NO on the bleach..using bleach to clean skulls is risky and takes a toll on the bone. If you want it degreased..then dip it in kerosene or white gas for a few minutes ( I believe I was told 3 minutes) and then wash it really good and let dry. My husband and I have cleaned skulls before ..or should I say, he cleaned the flesh off and I put them and all thier correct teeth back together LOL...and we have used bleach, but it does'nt degrease them . Plus you run the risk of over bleaching and then the bone slowly disintegrates on you like oxidation on a car that is'nt protected from the sun. We did this with 27 beaver heads and believe me...let nature take care of it...the smell is overwelming and even white sage burned like crazy won't take it out of your house! That reminds me...we still have a freezer shelf full of skulls to clean including otter, wolverine and a couple of wolf heads. Sorry to all the wolf lovers...but if the trapper is just going to get rid of them..better I take them and clean them for another use right? And no they are not for sale...the one skull is over 2 feet long..big guy! That one is definitly staying with us.
                        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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                        • #13
                          de flesh

                          I have done many Birds. (Taxidermist)
                          You need to make incissions on the underneath side of the wings in the fleshy area (like where the bicep and forearm is). As much meat and flesh needs to be removed. Once removed, use 40 Mule Team BORAX laundry soap. Rub the dry soap into the skin and any flesh that remains.
                          Salt tends to take moisture out of the skin and it will become brittle. The BORAX preserves it and also keeps the bugs and bacteria away.

                          Also with the legs, you can just cut the leg at the joint. Or If you want the feather section. Take the leg off at body connection. Peel the skin down like taking off a sock. Remove the meat and flesh from the bone. Rub dry Borax onto this inverted skin and also the bone. The muscle that has been removed can be replaced with excelsior or wood wool. The skin can be rolled back in place on the leg.

                          With the skull, remove as much flesh as you can, even the eyes. If you put it onto the ground for the ants and beetles to help you. Place a string through the beak nostrils and tie to a small tree base. In this way someting bigger wont carry it off.
                          I hope this helps.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks to each of you for your advice. It's all greatly appreciated. I'm well on my way to having some nice feathers, etc. What a beautiful bird!

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                            • #15
                              Here are some things I found out the hard way.

                              I was cutting the wing off a goose once, it had been dead a few days, well I broke the wing bone in half and the nasty old blood and funky liquid shot everywhere. Talk about bad smell.

                              I found a small bird once, it was already nasty and smelly so I buried it in hopes of having a nice clean skeleton in a few months. IT DISAPPEARED!!! The ground was never dug up and no holes were dug around it, it was just gone. Strange.

                              Yes, be careful with bleach, I used to collect deer bones from the town roadkill drop off, aftter nature did her work. I would bring them home and bleach them with a diluted solution. Worked nice. The bleach will definitely soften thin bone. ALSO, wear a mask, one day after a bleaching I was walking around the house and smelled something burning. Smelled like electrical fire. Well it turned out being the inside of my nose. All burnt up from the fumes, I probably lost a few brain cells also. I still have problems with my nose cause most of the hair is gone.

                              Someone told me to bleach horse hair to whiten it, I put the tail in bleach and forgot about it. All that was left was the skin and about 4 inches of hair...oops!
                              The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

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