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OBTAINING, PRESERVING, AND PREPARING BIRD SPECIMENS

The Heidelberg Catechism. Zacharias Ursinus. Darkness Before Dawn. Santa Claus Stories Illustrated Edition. Men of Integrity. Where b. Besides of this, thymus is difficult to find if the bird has been frozen more than a few months before skinning. In absence of particular comments to the contrary, dates are perfectly exact. The months are given by a three-letter abbreviation to avoid any mistake with the American way of month nummerals, e. For DNA tissues date of skinning is used, and here the European practice is followed, always with JER at the beginning followed by a number indicating if one, or more birds are maded the same day, e.

JER-2 If time of the day or night for death is known, e. Number of days gone between death and preparation is given in later registrated birds, but it is easy for all specimens where DNA tissues are taken to work out this piece of information. Locality where the bird is collected is always given as accurate as possible. All average are rounded off up. Long ago I realized how destruction it is when measurements are taken on old skins, especially max wing length. Therefore I began to measure the dead bird before skinning. These measurements are comparable with these bird ringers take on alive birds.

To now the index of size, e. The following measurements can maybe give surprising new information because it is possible to take therse with great accuracy:. The length of femur and humerus are recorded on the clean and dried bones, except for these not in the collection but with a six-number, where it is taken on the raw skeleton.

Wing- max. Wingspan and wing area are taken the last years. The length of the neck from a straight line between the dorsal end of furcula to the cranium.

Instead of these measurements I now only take the length of the keel. The diameter of both iris and the whole eyeball ; because eyeball rarely is quite round three measures of diameters are taken, horizontal, vertical and at a tilt and an average of these three. Iris measurement is also taken three times, but because iris is normally quite round only taken from one point, if oval this is noted and measurement taken from both the longest and shortest place.

This measurement is mostly taken as a help for bird illustrators, but in a few bird species it can also be a help to indentify the bird, e. A short time the lenght between the two pubis was also taken, because an aviculturist told me that he could sex all passerines in this way. The spleen, bursa of Fabricius b. The b. The three measurements are given with a dash or comma between the numbers. Note, rectum is often only approximatly. If only one caecum, this is also mentioned, on the database with a 0 in second column.

In lenses with cataract the diameter of the grey area is recorded. This is also recorded. From CN and c. About the degree of shrinkage in size after drying, see e. Halftorn It should be banned to take max wing length on finished skins, and moult and fault bars in wings should also be prohibited to study on a dried skin because it disturb skins. If they are divided in two, only one is measured but both weighted, on the label this is recorded by adding a s to gland. From about catalogue number CN and CNS I have started to measure wing, bill, tail and tarsus length on the completely thawed bird before the bird was prepared.

The method used is that described in Svensson Wing maximum length is used. Tarsus length are in most cases not taken on owls because it is so difficult on the fresh bird. If the bird was not weighed until after having been frozen down in an airtight plastic bag for a considerable span of time, a note of this is added. Banks From February all birds are weighed with a Sartorius MP. Time after time I calibrate it, and results with date are kept. If collector is mentioned, it means that the bird has not been weighed by me.

If I know the bird has been weighed with a pesola spring balance, this will be stated on the label. The finder or supplier of dead bird is not mentioned on the label, but via the six-numbered aluminium sign this is always possible to reconstruct, the same for the date of receipt. Food in crop, esophagus and proventriculus are weighted separate The inner layer of gizzard cuticula gastrica , which was already by Aristotle recognised to be easily removed, is also weighted.

By some families, e. The breastmuscles , M. Tail and wings are examined for fault bars and breaks in feathers due to fault bars. Because there are great difference in fault bars they are from January divided in light, moderate and severe according to how much the feather is weakened by the fault bar: Light fault bars resemble thin lines crossing the feather vein and appear, on close inspection, as slight notch on the feather surface, due to feather malformation. Moderate fault bars consist of a conspicuous lack of keratin deposition in barbs and barbules, making the feather translucent at the fault bar.

In this case the rachis often shows a clear malformation that is easy to see. Severe fault bars are seen as sections of feather vein a few mm wide or more that are free of barbules. Feather barbs often break at these fault bars, even the rachis. Fault spots are transparent holes, often wide and maybe related to fault bars; they are also registered. Pale bands on wings and tail are also noted. Tumours are identified when they are clearly visible lumps of hard tissue with a diameter of more than one mm, meassured, mass and colour taken and kept in etanol.

Tumours within tissues are not examined. The time from the death to the time when colours are identified is noted as short after death or later. The following colours are normally recorded: Iris, eye-ring, bill, inside upper mandible, palate, mouth, tongue, legs, feet are only mentioned if they differ in colour , sole, claws and bare skin elsewhere.

The principle invariably adhered to is that e. On expeditions and to some extent otherwise, when I rarely receive a bird just or soon after its death, a colour-guide is used to get an accurate colour. For a long time I used a Danish guide:. Kornerup, A. Wanscher, Farver i Farver. Politikens Forlag, Copenhagen. I find the Danish one the best one, but nobody except Danes know it.

It is even translated into English, 3rd. Methuen, London, but is now impossible to find on the markt I have heard due to stamp collectors. Moulting study skins are frustratingly rare in most collections and mine is no exception. Supposed right moult is now noted on a special column on the database. Primaries are counted descendent and secondaries ascendent. Contour feathers on my database means all body feathers, also neck and head, but except wing- and tail feathers. If one or more white albinistic feathers is found it is always mentioned, otherwise they can easily latter be neglected, especially small feathers.

The t racheal bulla by ducks, cast still in the body, endo- and ecto parasites or food which is suitable for being dried are kept and it is mentioned on the label and database. To facilitate later determination of seed a collection of seeds from many plants in my region have been collected and sorted after size. When a bird is skinned, all loose, NOT washed feathers are kept separate, e.

When tongues or ectoparasites are kept, they are only dried, tongues are normally kept together with trunk skeletons or skeletons, and ectoparasites are kept separate in small plastic bags or in etanol. Eyes are first prepared in etanol and then dried. I have long ago stopped to keep the dried eye because they often are easten by pest, instead scleral ossicles is kept when not rushed away by water. I think this is an important piece of information, because presumably e.

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If the bird earlier was washed a shampoo detergent was used in many years, now I prefer a common washing-up liquid in hand warm water and afterwards a woll wash liquid. I use much time to clean fat birds, e. The fat is removed with a not sharf knife with a rounded end, and to prevent hules in the skin I use much water to keep the skin smooth under this work.

Fatty birds where the end of the feather shaft is visible on skin inside like ducks are cut with a pair of scissors. On expeditions I have got good experience using salt on the inside of skin and bones, and letting the skin be half dried before it was placed in a tight plastic bag. On bigger birds I injected some saturated solution of salt in the legs. On places where the skin already was dried I also used this solution before salting it. This method has the disadvantage that the electroplated wire in the legs later became rusty. If the ulna is stripped I have mentioned this on the label as an appeal to researcher to take extra care.

Only the skins from Peru have been treated in this way by another collector in my collection. Birds from captivity have also been collected, but only on a limited scale, because origin and date of death are rarely found. I have, however, avoided species, like e. Hybrids or crossings are not included in the collection with one exception, where I hoped it was a new species. Half of its senses and faculties are quite useless, and the other half are but occasionally called into feeble exercise, while even its muscular system is only irregularly called into action. Only a few skins have been treated with Eulane U33 , and if so it is always mentioned.

I only use Eulane in rare cases because nobody knows how it affects the feathers and skins over a longer period. The catalogue number is prefixed either CN, CNS or CNF, the former for the bird-skins, the second for the skeletons, breastbones and craniums and the latter for the feather collection which normally contain one wing and eventually tail and some distinctive contour feathers.

As nearly all items from the skeleton collection have one spread wing, the loose tail feathers and some body feathers kept in the feather collection, they have only a CNS number also in the feather collection. This is the register number from the Danish Ministry of the Environment. From all birds are rigistered with an aluminium number except a few Danish game birds. Old skins, i. Very often also the weight of the food is given.

From catalogue number and onwards the trunk skeleton is usually kept with the catalogue number to the bird in question attached. Catalogue number, scientific name, sex, age, date locality. Uropygial gland is measured and mass taken. If the gland is divided into two glands, it is written glands and only one is measured, but both are weighted.

Ringing recoveries are mentioned with all information obtained. Also if the age of captive birds is known. After I had read Wood et al. And not without success:. They are : 12 skeletons in 8 species. Skeletons or derivative thereof of which only a total of one to five comprising until now 24 skeletons, 64 trunk skeletons and breastbones; those of which six to ten are found in other museums, viz. This listing is stopped from Many skeletons in my collection are those of captive pet birds, which very often represent species that are difficult to obtain in the wild and are accordingly useful for many purposes e.

Some have been cleaned by mealworms which at a small stage does the work nearly as well as the dermestid beetles, but there is a lot of work finding all the small bones, if you donot come just at the right moment, and the mealworms are only small for at short time. When they are ripe I remove the rotten items with water. Afterwards I give the skeleton a short partboiling with some hydrogen peroxide added to the water, and finish with washing the skeleton in clean water.


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If a bird is wrong identified and then skinned, it is only a matter of time before someone corrects the error. If a bird has been missidentified and then prepared as a skeleton, it is entirely possible that the mistake may never be realized, the consequences of which are nightmarish. In order to avoid later researchers failing to check the species determination, wing- and tail feathers and some of the more distinguished smaller contour feathers are kept in archival plastic sheets.

Very often a salvaged birds is found which is too bad for skin preparation, and the skeleton damaged. They are all kept in thick plastic bags. The collection await imaginative approaches to the study using current technologies as well as the technologies still to be discovered. New insight may be gleaned when thise data are examined with fresh eyes and minds. Due to the complicated rules nowadays I donot lend any bird skin or skeleton anymore, but researchers are wellcome to come and study the collection.

Arnall, L. Publications, Nepture City, N. Burtt, E. Avian Biol. Halftorn, S. Fauna norv. Cinclus Jovani, R. Biological Reviews : April Matthiesen, D. Carnegie Mus. Raikov, R. Miller ed. Museum collections: Their roles and future in biological research. Papers, Brit. Columbia Provincial Museum No. Rogers, S. Daley, The effect of preparation and preservation chemicals on plumage color and condition. Carnegie Museum Nat. Svensson, L. Lars Svensson, Stockholm. Tully, T. Wood, D.

Survey, Norman,Oklahoma. Zink, R. Remsen Jr. Current Orn. Natur und Museum, Frankfurt a M. Erritzoe, J. Nemouria, 40 Delaware Mus. In Danish. Chinese Wild Bird Federation, Taiwan. In Chinese. Dansk Ornitol. Forenings Tidskrift 93 Christie eds. Broadbills to Tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Die Vogelwarte 40 Mann, F. Dutch Birding 18 1 Galvan, I. A B Naudi, J. Evolution Article in PDF. Garamszegi, L. Evolution 57 4 : Eens, J. Article in pdf. Royal Soc. London B. Christe, J. Mavarez, Condition, disease and immune defence. Oikos Erritzoe Badge, body and testes size in House Sparrows, Passer domesticus. Ornis Scandinavia 19 1 : Erritzoe Acquisition of breeding coloration depends on badge size in male house sparrows Passer domesticus.

Evolution 50 5 Evolutionary Ecology Oecologia Erritzoe Dispersal, vaccination and regression of immune defence organs. Ecological Letters 4: Erritzoe Coevolution of host immune defence and parasite-mediated mortality: Relative spleen size and mortality in altricial birds. Erritzoe, Climate, body condition and spleen size in birds.

Ethology Avian Research Research 32 2 : Garamszegi, Covariation between brain size and immunity in birds: Implications for brain size evolution. Linnean Soc. Chinese Birds 1 2 : Nielsen Predators and microorganisms of prey: Goshawks prefer prey with small uropygial glands. Functional Ecology Saino, Seasonal changes in immune response and parasite impact on hosts. American Naturalist 4 : London B Pap, O. Vincze, G. Read article in PDF.

Taxidermy Vol.2 Small Birds - The Collection, Skinning and Mounting of Small Birds

From the very beginning in all data concerning the bird-skin collection were written into catalogues. As the collection grew it became obvious that this system alone was not satisfactory for many reasons, e. In I decided to carry out this computer cataloguing before the collection had grown to the point where this work would have been a major undertaking. It took four months of data entry before computerization was completed. I had every skin, breastbone, trunk skeleton or skeleton in my hand to obviate any mistake.

However, in this database only the following data were recorded: Number, scientific name, month, country where collected, and at the end different codes for DNA kept, captivity, feathers kept, trunk skeleton kept etc. This work was finished in August with The temperature where the collection is kept in our house is not the best: in winters about F. The light is normal, but most of the skins are stored in wooden cabinets where no light and very little dust can get in. The rest is placed in boxes. I try to cope with that problem in the following way:. It is enough to dry the feathers in the wanted position so the skin can be laid down on its back without disturbing the pattern of the feathers.

Then — not only to protect it from the attack of pests but also to safeguard it against dust — it is put in a cardboard box in my office to finish its drying there. Celtic Fairy Tales. Joseph Jacobs. Japanese Literature. Robert Wolgemuth. Contemporary Australian Monologues for Men. Catholic Prayer Book. Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing. George Pope Morris. The Self-Acceptance Project. Tami Simon. Titanic At Great Sea Stories. Joseph Lewis French. Parallel Text: French Short Stories. Simon Lee. The Essence of Buddhism.

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