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Title: How to Stuff Birds and Animals - A valuable book giving instruction in collecting, preparing, - mounting, and preserving birds, animals, and insects
Author: Warford, Aaron A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                 HOW TO
                        STUFF BIRDS AND ANIMALS

                            A VALUABLE BOOK.

                         GIVING INSTRUCTION IN
                       BIRDS, ANIMALS AND INSECTS

                                NEW YORK
                        FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher
                            24 Union Square

           Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year
                                1902, by

                             FRANK TOUSEY,

       in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington,
                                 D. C.

HOW TO Stuff Birds and Animals.




When a quadruped is killed, and its skin intended for stuffing, the
preparatory steps are to lay the animal on its back, and plug up its
nostrils, mouth, and any wounds it may have received, with cotton or
tow, to prevent the blood from disfiguring the skin. The fox will serve
admirably our purpose as an example. Therefore, Reynard being procured,
we need not say how, lay him on his back in the same position as before
recommended; and, having first stuffed the mouth with cotton and tied
it up, and measured his neck and body with rule and calipers, and noted
them, proceed. Make an incision from the last rib nearly to the vent,
but not quite up to it. Having done so, proceed to raise the skin all
round the incision as far as the thighs, first skinning one side and
then the other, using the flat end of the knife in preference to the
blade to raise the skin. Having reached the hind legs, separate the
latter at the femur or thigh-bone, close to the backbone, leaving the
legs attached to the skin. Now skin the head-quarters close up to the
tail, and separate from the body at the last vertebræ, taking care not
to injure the skin. Pull the skin over the heads of the hip-joints, and
now the carcass may be suspended by the hind-quarters, while the skin
is stripped by pulling it gently and cutting towards the fore-quarters.
The fore legs are separated from the body, as the hind ones had been,
close to the shoulder-bone, and the skin pulled fairly over the head
and close to the nose, when the head is separated from the body by
cutting through the last vertebræ of the neck. Reynard is now skinned,
the head, legs and tail being all attached to the skin, from which the
carcass is separated.

The flesh is now cut entirely away from the cheek-bones, the eyes
removed, the brains taken out by enlarging the occipital opening
behind the cranium, the whole cleaned and supplied with a coating of
arsenical paste, and stuffed with tow or wool, to the natural size.

The legs are now successively skinned by pushing out the bones and
inverting the skin over them until the foot-joint is visible; every
portion of flesh and tendons must be cut away, and the bone cleaned
thoroughly, and a coating of arsenical soap laid over it as well as
the skin. Wrap tow, or cotton, or any other suitable material, round
the bone, bringing it to its natural shape, and draw the skin over it
again. Do this to each leg in succession, and the body itself is ready
for stuffing and mounting.

The utmost care will not prevent accidents; the fur and plumage will
get sullied, and before stuffing it is well to examine the skin,
for stains and spots are calculated to deteriorate its appearance.
Grease or blood-spots may be removed by brushing over with oil of
turpentine, which is afterwards absorbed by dusting plaster of Paris
over. Macgillivray recommends that all skins, whether they are to be
put away in a cabinet or stuffed, should receive a washing of spirits
of turpentine sprinkled on, and gently brushed in the direction of the
feathers or fur.

Not to trust too much to memory, it is desirable to measure and note
the proportions of the animal before skinning, first taking the muzzle
to the tail. Afterwards, from the junction of the tail to the tip.
Secondly, from the middle of the shoulder-blade, or scapula, to the
articulation of the femur, or thigh-bone. Thirdly, the animal being
placed on its side, measure from the upper part of the scapula to the
middle of the sternum--that is, to the spot where the two sides meet
above, and finally from the socket of the scapula to the socket of the
articulation of the femur, or thigh-bone. In addition to these, note,
by measurement with caliper compasses, the size of the head, the neck,
the tail, and other points which affect the shape of the animal. These
measurements will serve as a guide in stuffing, and for the size of
the case and length of the mounting wires. In the process of skinning,
it is important to avoid penetrating to the intestines, or separating
any of the abdominal muscles which lead to the intestines; any such
accident would be very disagreeable, as well as injurious to the skin.


Let us suppose the animal which we intend to stuff, to be a Cat. Wire
of such a thickness is chosen as will support the animal by being
introduced under the soles of the feet, and running it through each of
the four legs. A piece of smaller dimensions is then taken, measuring
about two feet, for the purpose of forming what is termed by stuffers
a tail-bearer. This piece of wire is bent at nearly a third of its
length, into an oval of about six inches in length; the two ends are
twisted together, so as to leave one of them somewhat longer than the
other; the tail is then correctly measured, and the wire is cut to
the length of it, besides the oval. The wire is then wrapped round
with flax in a spiral form, which must be increased in thickness as
it approaches the oval, so as to be nearly equal to the dimensions of
the largest vertebræ, or root of the tail. When finished, it should
be rubbed thinly over with flour-paste, to preserve its smooth form,
which must be allowed to dry thoroughly, and then the surface should
receive a coating of the preservative. The sheath of the tail must now
be rubbed inside with the preservative. This is applied with a small
quantity of lint, attached to the end of a wire, long enough to reach
the point of the tail-sheath. The tail-bearer is then inserted into the
sheath, and the oval part of the wire placed within the skin of the
belly, and attached to the longitudinal wire, which is substituted for
the vertebræ or backbone.

Four pieces of wire, about the thickness of a crow-quill, are then
taken, which must be the length of the legs, and another piece a foot
or fifteen inches longer than the body. One end of each of these is
sharpened with a file, in a triangular shape, so that it may the more
easily penetrate the parts. At the blunt end of the longest piece a
ring is formed, large enough to admit of the point of a finger entering
it; this is done by bending the wire back on itself a turn and a half,
by the assistance of the round pincers. On the same wire another ring
is formed in a similar manner, consisting of one entire turn, and so
situated as to reach just between the animal's shoulders. The remaining
part of this wire should be perfectly straight, and triangularly
pointed at the extremity.

All the wires being adjusted, the operation of stuffing is next
proceeded with. The skin of the Cat is now extended on a table; and
the end of the noose seized with the left hand, and pushed again into
the skin, till it reaches the neck, when we receive the bones of the
head into the right hand. The skull is now well rubbed over with the
arsenical soap, and all the cavities which the muscles before occupied
are filled with chopped tow, flax, or cotton well mixed with preserving
powder. The long piece of wire is now passed into the middle of the
skull, and after it is well rubbed over with the preservative, it is
returned into the skin. The inner surface of the neck-skin is now
anointed, and stuffed with chopped flax, taking care not to distend it
too much. Nothing like pressure should be applied, as the fresh skin is
susceptible of much expansion.

Observe that it is always the inner surface which is anointed with the
arsenical soap.

[Illustration: _Fig. 1._

_Manner of inserting the wires in mounting a Cat._]

Take care that the first ring of the wire, which passes into the head,
is in the direction of the shoulders, and the second corresponding with
the pelvis, or somewhat towards the posterior part. One of the fore-leg
wires is then inserted along the back of the bone, and the point passed
out under the highest ball of the paw. When this is accomplished, the
bones of the leg are drawn up within the skin of the body, and the
wire fastened to the bones of the arm and fore-arm with strong thread,
or small twine. Brass wire, used for piano-forte strings, makes it
more secure, and is not liable to rot. These are well anointed, and
flax or tow _slivers_ wrapped round them, so as to supply the place of
the muscles which have been removed. To give the natural rise to the
larger muscles, a piece of silver should be cut off the length of the
protuberance required, and placed in the part, and the silver wrapped
over it. This gives it a very natural appearance.

The mode of fixing the legs is by passing one of their pieces of wire
into the small ring of the horizontal or middle supporting wire. Pursue
the same plan with the other leg, and then twist the two ends firmly
together, by the aid of a pair of flat pincers. For an animal of the
size of a Cat the pieces left for twisting must be from five to six
inches in length. After being twisted, they are bound on the under side
of the body-wire with strong thread; the two legs are then replaced
and put in the form in which we intend to fix them. The skin of the
belly and top of the shoulders are then anointed, and a thick layer
of flax placed under the middle wire. The shape is now given to the
scapulæ on both sides, and all the muscles of the shoulders imitated.
These will be elevated or depressed, according to the action intended
to be expressed. The anterior part of the opening is now sewed up, to
retain the stuffing and to enable us to complete the formation of the
shoulders and the junction of the neck. This part of the animal is of
great importance as regards the perfection of its form; and much of its
beauty will depend upon this being well executed.

If the animal has been recently skinned, the best plan possible is to
imitate, as nearly as possible, the muscles of the carcass; by which
many parts will be noticed which might otherwise have been neglected.
As a rule, copy Nature whenever you have it in your power.

It must be observed, as a general rule, that the wires for the hind
legs of quadrupeds should always be longer than those of the fore legs.

The next thing is to form the hind legs and thighs, which must be done,
as above described for the fore legs; but with this difference, that
they must be wound round with thread, drawn through the stuffing at
intervals, to prevent it slipping up when returned into the skin of the
leg. They are then fixed, by passing the leg wires into a second ring
of the center body wire, which is situated at or near the pelvis; the
two ends are then bent, twisting them to the right and left around the
ring: and to make them still more secure, they should be wound round
with small brass wire or pack-thread; the tail-bearer is then attached
in the manner formerly described.

Having completed this part of the iron work, the skin of the thighs
is coated inside with the preservative, and the stuffing completed
with chopped flax or tow. The whole inner parts of the skin which
can be reached are again anointed, and the body stuffing completed
with chopped flax. Care must be also paid not to stuff the belly too
much, as the skin very easily dilates. The incision in the belly is
now closed by bringing the skin together, and then sewing within and
without, while attention is paid to divide the hairs, and not to
take any of them in along with the thread; but should any of them
be inadvertently fixed, they can be picked out easily with a point.
When this is completed, the hair will resume its natural order and
completely conceal the seam.

The seam should now be well primed on both sides with the solution of
corrosive sublimate, to prevent the entrance of moths.

The articulations of the legs are then bent, and the animal placed on
its feet, and pressure used at the natural flat places, so as to make
the other parts rise where the muscles are visible.

A board is now prepared, on which to place the Cat. But before fixing
it permanently, the animal should be set in the attitude in which it is
intended to be preserved, and the operator, having satisfied himself,
then pierces four holes for the admission of the feet wires, which must
be drawn through with a pair of pincers till the paws rest firmly on
the board. Small grooves are then made for the reception of the pieces
of wires which have been drawn through, so that they may be folded back
and pressed down in them, and not be beyond the level of the back of
the board; wire nails are now driven half in, and their heads bent down
on the wires to prevent them from getting loose, or becoming movable.

The stuffer next directs his attention to the position and final
stuffing of the head and neck. The muscles of the face must be imitated
as correctly as possible, by stuffing in cotton at the opening of
the eyes, as also at the mouth, ears, and nostrils. To aid in this,
also, the inner materials may be drawn forward by the assistance of
instruments, and also small pieces of wood formed like small knitting

Our next care is the insertion of the eyes, which must be done while
the eyelids are yet fresh. Some dexterity and skill are required in
this operation, and on it will depend most of the beauty and character
of the head. The seats of the eyes are supplied with a little cement,
the eyes put in their place, and the eyelids properly drawn over the
eyeballs: but if rage or fear are to be expressed, a considerable
portion of the eyeballs must be exposed. The lips are afterwards
disposed in their natural state, and fastened with pins. If the mouth
is intended to be open, it will be necessary to support the lips with
cotton, which can be removed when they are dry. Two small balls of
cotton, firmly pressed together, and well tinctured with the arsenical
soap, must be thrust into the nostrils so as to completely plug them up
to prevent the air from penetrating, as also the intrusion of moths;
and besides, it has the effect of preserving the natural shape of the
nose after it has dried. The same precaution should be adopted with the
ears, which, in the Cat, require but little attention in setting.

We must again recommend the stuffer to see that he has sufficiently
applied the preservative soap; and the nose, lips, eyes, and paws,
being very liable to decay, must be well imbued with spirits of
turpentine. This is applied with a brush, and must be repeated six or
eight times, at intervals of some days, until we are certain of the
parts being well primed with it; and, after all, it will be advisable
to give it a single coating of the solution of corrosive sublimate.

The methods of stuffing, which we have pointed out in the preceding
pages, are applicable to all animals, from a Lion down to the smallest
Mouse. Animals of a large description require a frame-work suited to
their dimensions; these he will point out in their order. There are
also some animals whose peculiarity of structure requires treatment
differing a little from the ordinary course.


One of the chief difficulties to contend with, in setting up Monkeys
and Apes, is the preservation of their hands and hind hands, or what we
commonly call their feet; because we must not attempt to deprive these
limbs of their flesh, as we never could again supply its place anything
like what is in nature. The hands must therefore be dried, and then
well imbued with turpentine and the solution of corrosive sublimate,
repeated eight or ten times at least, at intervals of four or five
days. The other parts of the stuffing should be exactly similar to that
recommended for quadrupeds generally. The paws of several will require
to be colored with the different varnishes, and, when dry, slightly
polished with fine sand-paper to remove the gloss. The callosities, on
the hinder parts of many of them, will also require to be colored, and
treated in the same way as the face.


The wing-membranes of this varied and numerous tribe do not require
either wire or parchment to set them. They are very easily dried by
distension. They are laid on a board of soft wood, the wings extended
and pinned equally at the articulations, and, when dry, they are
removed from the board.


When it is wished to preserve Hedgehogs, rolled into a ball, which is
a very common position with them in a state of nature, there should
be less stuffing put into them than is usual with quadrupeds, so that
they may the more easily bend. No wires are required in this case. The
head and feet are drawn close together under the belly; then place the
animal on its back in the middle of a large cloth, and tie the four
ends firmly together; suspend it in the air till thoroughly dry, which
finishes the operation.

If Hedgehogs are wished with the heads and limbs exposed, the usual
method of mounting is adopted. The skins of Mice, Moles, etc., having
a very offensive smell, it will be necessary to add a considerable
portion of the tincture of musk to the solution of the corrosive
sublimate with which the skins are imbued. The same applies to Badgers,
Wolverenes, Polecats and Skunks, all of which are strong-smelling


The structure of the wires requires to be different in these larger
animals from any we have before described.

Procure a bar one inch thick, two inches broad, and as long as to reach
horizontally from the shoulder to the connection of the thighs, or _os
pubis_. A hole is bored four inches distant from one of its ends, from
which a connecting groove must be formed, extending on both sides to
the end of the plank next the hole; this groove must be cut out with a
hollow chisel deep enough to receive the wire. The wire is then passed
through it, one end of which is just long enough to be twisted with the
other at the end of the plank. The wire on both sides is now pressed
down into the grooves, and twisted firmly together by the aid of a pair
of strong pincers. Pierce some holes obliquely into the groove and
insert some wire nails into them, which must be firmly driven home,
and then bent over the wire to keep them firm. The longest end of the
wire should be at least eighteen inches beyond the bar, so as to pass
through the skull of the animal.

The use of this bar, it will be observed, is a substitute for the
central or supporting wires of the body. Two other holes are now bored
into it, the one two, and the other three inches from the end which
we first pierced; these are for the reception of the wires of the
forelegs; and two similar holes must be made at the other extremity of
the bar for receiving the wires of the hind legs.

Bears always support themselves on the full expansion of their dilated
paws, so that it is necessary to bring the leg-wires out of the claws.
The leg-wires are bent at right angles for a length of five inches
from the upper end. These are put through the holes in the bar,
and when they have passed through they are curved again. Two small
gimlet-holes are then made for the reception of smaller wire, by which
the leg-wires must be bound together close to the bar. The fore-leg
wires are fixed in the same manner, which completes the frame-work.

No other means are used for middle-sized animals, such as the Lion,
Tiger, Leopard, etc. The stuffing is completed as in other quadrupeds.

The Walrus, Seals, and other amphibious animals of this order, are
treated in the manner of quadrupeds generally, only that leg-wires are
unnecessary, except in the fore-feet; the tail, which represents the
hind feet, has merely to be dried and kept properly stretched in during
this process, which precaution also applies to the fore-feet. They
are the easiest stuffed of all animals, only the skins are very oily;
they should be well rubbed with the arsenical soap, and also with the
preserving powder.

The stuffing of the Walrus, and other large animals of this family,
should consist of well-dried hay for the interior parts, and tow for
the surface next the skin.


The Beaver, Musk Rat, Common Rat, and other animals whose skins have
a strong smell. These require to be plentifully supplied with the
preservative. The tail of the Beaver should be cut underneath, and
all the flesh removed, then stuffed with tow or chopped flax, and
afterwards thoroughly dried and well primed with the arsenical soap to
prevent putrefaction, to which it is very liable. It should also have
repeated washings with oil of turpentine. The back should be round and


In stuffing this animal considerable and varied expression may be
given, both from the attitude and disposition of the quills. Great
attention is therefore required in giving these a proper set during
the process of drying. They will require to be looked at several times
during the first and second day after they have been stuffed, and
any of them that may have fallen out of the position required, to be


A very pretty attitude for the Hare or Rabbit, is to have it seated
in its form in an upright position, as if alarmed at the noise of
dogs, etc. An oval is formed of wire and attached to the interior
frame-work, after having passed one end of it through the anus, which
must be passed through a hole in the board on which the animal is to be
fixed. The wires of the hind legs must be forced through the posterior
part of them, and also fixed into holes formed for their reception in
the board.


These animals should be mounted on the same principles as recommended
for the Bears. A different mode must, however, be adopted in skinning
the animals, which the horns render necessary. It is performed in the
ordinary manner until the operator reaches the neck. After cutting as
near the head as possible, another incision must be made, commencing
under the chin, which is continued to the bottom of the neck, or from
eight to ten inches in length. By this opening, the remainder of
the neck is separated from the head; the tongue is cut out, and the
occipital orifice enlarged, and the brain extracted thereby. The lips
are now cut as near as possible to the jaw-bones, and the operator must
continue progressively ascending towards the forehead, and in this
manner all the skin will be separated from the head, except at the
nose, or point of the muzzle. All the muscles are next removed by the
scalpel, and the skull well anointed with arsenical soap. The muscles
which have been cut out are then imitated with chopped flax or cotton,
which may be attached to the bones with cement. When this is done, the
head must be replaced within the skin. The orifice under the neck must
now be sewed up with fine stitches, so that the hair may spread over
them to conceal the seam. The whole other parts of the mounting is
complete as directed for the Bear.


The structure of these animals, as well as the other species of the
first family of this order, differs but little in general structure.

In skinning these, an incision is made under the chin, and continued
to the extremity of the tail; the skin is then detached right and left
with the scalpel, or a sharp knife. When the skin has been cut back
as far as possible, disengage the vertebræ at the tail, and this will
enable the operator to detach the skin from the back; the vertebræ are
now cut close to the head, and the whole carcass removed.

All this tribe have a thick layer of fat under their skin. In the
operation of skinning it requires considerable dexterity to leave this
fat, or blubber, adhering to the carcass. Practice alone will obviate
this. When this has not been properly managed in the skinning, the only
thing to be done afterwards is to scrape it thoroughly with a knife.
The oil which flows from it, during this operation, must be soaked up
with bran, or plaster of Paris.

There being no muscular projections in the skin of the Porpoise,
there is no use for wires in mounting it. A narrow piece of wood the
length of the body is quite sufficient to keep the skin stretched, and
stuffed either with tow or hay. Some months are necessary to render
it perfectly dry and stiff, from its greasy nature. The grease almost
always leaves some disagreeable-looking spots on the skin. To remove
these, and prevent a recurrence of them, powdered pumice-stone steeped
in olive-oil, is rubbed thickly on the skin with a hand-brush. It is
then gone over a second time with emery and oil. It is rubbed in this
way till the skin has a glossy appearance, when it may be rubbed dry
with a woolen cloth; and to complete the polish, a clean woolen cloth
may be applied with some force to complete the gloss which is natural
to the skin in a living state.

Where a very glossy appearance is wished, varnishes become necessary,
but some difficulty has been experienced in getting these to remain
attached to the skin in all weathers, because the humidity of rainy
seasons melts gum-arabic when it is used as a varnish, and when white
varnish is applied, both it and the gum-arabic fall off in pieces. To
prevent the gum from falling off in this way, by its contracting, the
solution should have about an eighth part of ox-gall mixed with it, and
the surface of any body to be varnished should be washed with ox-gall
and water before the varnish is applied, which will, almost to a
certainty, present it from cracking and falling off. It must, however,
be thoroughly dried before the varnish is applied.

We may here state, that an animal the size of a Fox or a Cat, may
be skinned, prepared, and finally set up, in the space of four or
five hours, by a person who has had a little practice in the art of
Taxidermy, and that from ten to fifteen minutes are all that will be
required to skin an animal of the size just mentioned.




Immediately after a bird is killed, the throat and nostrils should be
stuffed with tow, cotton, or fine rags, and a small quantity wound
round the bill to prevent the blood from staining the plumage; but
should any get on the feathers, notwithstanding this precaution, the
sooner it is removed the better, which should be effected by a sponge
which has been merely moistened in water. Too much dispatch cannot be
used in removing the skin, if the bird is shot in a warm climate; but,
in temperate regions, the bird may be allowed to cool.

[Illustration: _Fig. 2._

_Manner of holding the hands in skinning a bird._]

In proceeding to skin the bird, it should be laid on its back, and the
feathers of the breast separated to the right and left, when a broad
interval will be discovered, reaching from the top to the bottom of the
breast-bone. (See fig. 2.)

(See fig. 2 for the manner of separating the feathers and using the
scalpel.) A sharp pen-knife, or scalpel, must be inserted at the point
of the bone, and cut the outer skin from thence to the vent, taking
care not to penetrate so deep as the flesh, or upon the inner skin
which covers the intestines. The skin will then easily be separated
from the flesh; in larger specimens, by the fingers, or, in smaller
ones, by passing a small blunt instrument betwixt the skin and body,
such as the end of the scalpel-handle; with this you may reach the
back. The thighs should now be pressed inward, as in the common method
of skinning a rabbit, and the skin turned back, so far as to enable
you to separate the legs from the body, at the knee-joint. The skin is
then pulled downwards, as low as the rump, which is cut close by the
insertion of the tail, as shown in fig. 2, but in such a manner as not
to injure its feathers. The skin is now drawn upwards the length of the
wings, the bones of which must also be cut at the shoulder-joints; it
is then pulled up, till all the back part of the skull is laid bare,
when the vertebræ of the neck are separated from the head, and the
whole body is now separated from the skin. You next proceed to remove
the brain, through the opening of the skull, for which purpose it may
be enlarged by a hollow chisel, or other iron instrument. The eyes
must then be taken out, by breaking the slender bones which separate
the orbits from the top of the mouth, in which you may be assisted by
pressing the eyes gently inwards, so as not to break them. In skinning
the neck great care must be taken not to enlarge the opening of the
ears, and not to injure the eyelids. The whole of the flesh is next to
be removed from the under mandible.

[Illustration: _Fig. 3._

_Bird suspended for skinning._]

Several species will not admit of the skin being thus pulled over
their heads, from the smallness of their necks; some Woodpeckers,
Ducks, etc., fall under this description; in which case a longitudinal
incision is made under the throat, so as to admit of the head being
turned out, which must be neatly sewed up before stuffing. The flesh
from the head, wings, legs, and rump, must then be carefully removed
with a knife, and the cavities of the skull filled with cotton or tow.
The whole inside of the skin, head, etc., must be well rubbed with
arsenical soap, or preserving powder, or spirit of turpentine, or the
solution of corrosive sublimate. When it is wished to stuff the bird,
it may now be immediately done, as it will easily dry, if in a warm
climate; but in low, damp countries, it will require artificial heat to
do it effectually.

When the skins are merely wished preserved, the bones of the legs and
wings should be wrapped round with cotton or tow, so as to supply the
place of the flesh; the skin is then inverted and hung up to dry, after
using the arsenical soap, as above directed; before doing which, in
larger birds, a thread or small string may be drawn through the rump,
and passed up to the inside of the neck, and drawn through the bill, to
prevent the head from stretching too much by its own weight. In larger
specimens, where cotton or tow is not easily to be met with, well-dried
hay may be used.

The incision for removing the skin is frequently made under the wings.
This may be done with marine birds to advantage. The Penguins and
Divers may be skinned by making the incision in the back.

The tongue should either be kept in the mouth, or sent home separately
with the birds.

The greatest care must be taken to prevent the fat and oily matter, so
common to sea-birds, from getting on the feathers; pounded chalk will
be found an excellent absorbent for applying to these birds.

In sending home specimens of birds, they should be each wrapped in
paper, and closely packed in a box; and camphor, preserving powder,
and strong aromatics, strewn amongst them, to prevent them from being
attacked by insects; and they ought to be kept in a very dry part of
the vessel.

It is of the utmost consequence to know the color of the eyes and legs
of birds, and these things should be carefully noted the moment they
are killed; and it should also be mentioned whether they are male
or female; such a memorandum ought to be attached to the birds by a
ticket. The season of the year in which the bird is killed, must also
be mentioned. It is also of much consequence to have good skeletons,
and, for this purpose, the carcasses may be sent home in a barrel,
either in spirits or a strong solution of salt and water.

Mr. Salt, while in Abyssinia, packed his bird-skins between sheets of
paper, and in the same manner as a _hortus siccus_, or herbarium, and
they reached England in perfect safety, and made excellent specimens
when set up. In warm climates, the boxes should be well closed, and the
seams filled with warm pitch on the outside, to prevent the intrusion
of insects; and the inside should be supplied with camphor, musk, or
tobacco-dust, which will prevent the attacks of the smaller insects.

Till practice has given facility to the operator, it will assist in
keeping the feathers clean, if, as he opens the skin of the breast, he
pins pieces of paper or linen cloth on the outside, but after a few
trials this will be unnecessary.

Some of the marine fowls are so fat that there is much trouble in
separating it from the skin, and in warm weather, great attention
will be required to prevent it from running on the feathers. As much
as possible should be scraped off, in the first place, with a blunt
table-knife or palate-knife, and a quantity of powdered chalk applied,
to absorb what remains, which, when saturated with the oily matter,
should be scraped off and a fresh supply used, after which a much
larger proportion of the preserving powder should be applied than in
other birds which are not fat.

When shooting on the sea-coast, if the ornithologist is not provided
with these requisites for absorbing the oil, which flows quickly from
any wounds of the skin, he will find dry sand a tolerable substitute.

If, however, after every precaution, the oily matter should get on
the feathers, the sooner it is removed the better, as, in birds where
the plumage is white, if it is allowed to become hardened it will
produce a very disagreeable appearance; and, besides, render that
part particularly liable to the attack of insects. There are several
effectual methods of removing the greasy stains; the first, safest,
and best, is, by taking a quantity of diluted ox-gall--or, where it
cannot be commanded, sheep's-gall, or that of any other animal--mix it
with about double the quantity of water, and apply it with a sponge to
the place which the fatty matter has touched, when it will immediately
remove it. The next is by using a solution of salt of tartar, or
potash, or soda. This must be made very weak, not exceeding half a
tea-spoonful to a cup of water, which will have the same effect as
the gall. Whichever of these are used, the place must be immediately
afterwards washed in pure water, so as to leave none of the gall or
alkaline substance remaining. The gall has a gummy tendency, and will
glue together the fibers of the feathers, and, besides, it has a great
attraction for moisture, and, in humid weather, will become damp, and
therefore produce mold; the other alkaline substances must also be
used with much caution and quickness, because they have the power of
changing the colors of the plumage, so that they are most useful in
white plumage, and therefore should only be used on colored feathers,
where gall cannot be procured.

One general observation applies to the preservation of all animal
skins, which is, they must be made perfectly dry, so that the sooner
they are exposed to a free current of air the better; and unless they
are speedily and thoroughly dried, the skin will become putrid and
rotten, and the hair or feathers will consequently fall off. If a skin
is properly dried, soon after it is killed, it will keep a considerable
time without any preservative whatever, only it will be the more liable
to be attacked by insects afterwards.

The following excellent general directions for skinning are given by
Mr. Waterton:--"While dissecting, it will be of use to keep in mind,
that in taking off the skin from the body, by means of your fingers and
little knife, you must try to shove it, in lieu of pulling it, lest you
stretch it.

"That you must press as lightly as possible on the bird, and every now
and then take a view of it, to see that the feathers, etc., are all

"That when you come to the head, you must take care that the body of
the skin rest on your knee, for if you allow it to dangle from your
hand, its own weight will stretch it too much.

"That, throughout the whole operation, as fast as you detach the skin
from the body, you must put cotton immediately betwixt the body and
it, and this will effectually prevent any fat, blood, or moisture from
coming in contact with the plumage.

"As you can seldom get a bird without shooting it, a line or two on
this head will be necessary. If the bird be still alive, press it
hard, with your finger and thumb, just behind the wings, and it will
soon expire. Carry it by the legs, and then, the body being reversed,
the blood cannot escape down the plumage and through the shot-holes.
As blood will have often issued out, before you have laid hold of the
bird, find out the shot-holes, by dividing the feathers with your
fingers, and blowing on them; and then, with your pen-knife, or the
leaf of a tree, carefully remove the clotted blood, and put a little
cotton on the hole. If, after all, the plumage has not escaped the
marks of blood, or if it has imbibed slime from the ground, wash the
part in water, without soap, and keep gently agitating the feathers
with your fingers, till they are quite dry. Were you to wash them,
and leave them to dry by themselves, they would have a very mean and
shriveled appearance.

"In the act of skinning a bird, you must either have it upon a table,
or upon your knee; probably you will prefer your knee, because,
when you cross one knee over the other, and have the bird upon the
uppermost, you can raise it to your eye, or lower it at pleasure, by
means of the foot on the ground; and then your knee will always move
in unison with your body, by which much stooping will be avoided, and
lassitude prevented."


The first thing to be done in stuffing is to replace the skull, after
it has been well anointed with the arsenical soap, and washed with the
solution of corrosive sublimate inside. The thread with which the beak
is tied is taken hold of by the left hand, and the head is repassed
into the neck with the forefinger of the right hand, while the thread
is pulled on the opposite side; and we are careful that the feathers,
at the margin of the opening, do not enter with the edges of the skin.
The bird is now laid on the table with the head turned towards the left
hand, and the legs and wings adjusted to their proper situation. A flat
piece of lead, about a pound in weight, is laid on the tail, while the
feathers of the margins of the opening are raised by the forefinger and
thumb of the left hand, to prevent their being soiled. The inside of
the neck is now coated with the arsenical soap; flax is stuffed into
it, but not too tightly. The back and rump are anointed, and the body
should then be stuffed with tow, to about a third of the thickness
required, so that the wire may have a sort of cushion to rest on.

Four pieces of wire are then prepared, of the thickness proportionate
to the size of the bird to be stuffed. The center-piece should be
somewhat longer than the body of the bird. At about a fourth of its
length a small ring is formed, by the assistance of the round pincers
or pliers, and the other end is pointed with a file. This wire is
oiled, and introduced across the skull, and passed into the neck
through the center of the flax or tow with which it is stuffed--the
ring being situated toward the anterior part of the skull, for the
purpose of receiving the points of each of the wires that are passed
through the feet and thighs.

[Illustration: _Fig. 4 to 7._

_4, the oval and head-wires of a bird separated; 5, the tail-bearers
separated; 6, a leg-wire separated; 7, the body-wire, the head-wire,
the tail-bearer and legs connected._]

The following is the mode in which this performance is effected: A hole
is bored with a brass awl, the caliber of the wire which it is intended
to use. The wire, which is to continue in the leg, is passed across
the knee, and brought out interiorly, and, placing it into the ring
above mentioned, the same operation is performed on the other side. The
extremities of the wires of the legs, and the end of the central wire
beyond the ring, are all twisted together with flat pincers, and then
bent towards the tail. The tail-bearer is next formed, which consists
of the fourth piece of wire, with which an oval is formed, by twisting
the two ends two or three turns, so that they may form a kind of fork,
with the oval nearly the length of the body of the bird; the two points
of the fork must be sharpened with a file, and near enough to enable
them to enter the rump, through which they must pass, and their points
will be concealed by the rectrices, or large straight tail-feathers,
while the oval is within the body of the bird. If the bird is large,
the tail-bearer must be firmly attached to the interior wires, by
twisting a small wire several times round both. But unless the bird be
large, it may remain quite free.

All the parts of the skin at which we can come must be thoroughly
rubbed with preserving soap, the rump in particular, which should,
besides, be soaked with the solution of corrosive sublimate. The
stuffing is now proceeded with, by inserting chopped flax or tow, till
it has attained its proper dimensions. The skin is brought together and
sewed up, while we take the greatest care to separate the feathers at
every stitch.

The orbits of the eyes are next finished, by inserting, with small
forceps and a short stuffing stick, a small quantity of chopped cotton,
while attention is paid to round the eyelids properly. The glass eyes
are now inserted, taking care to place them properly under the eyelids.
But, before fixing the eye, a little calcareous cement must be used, to
prevent them from coming out. If any part of the nictitating membrane
is visible below, it must be pushed up with the steel point.

The stuffing of the bird being now completed, the next thing is to
place it either on a branch, or, if a bird which does not sit on trees,
on a piece of plank; whichever of these it is, two holes are bored
for the reception of the wires, which have been allowed to protrude
from the soles of the feet, for fixing the bird (See fig 8.) These,
of course, are pierced in such situations as are necessary for the
attitude or position of the legs. The wires are put through these
holes, and twisted so as to secure the bird in its position. The
attitude of the bird will, of course, depend upon the fancy and taste
of the operator, and ought to be in conformity with the manners of the
birds in a living state.

The wire frame-work, above described, is the most simple of any in its
construction, and is better adapted for small than large birds. Indeed,
it will hardly suit those of the larger species. The following is
another method of constructing the frame-work, which may be used either
in large or small birds:--

Like the former, it is constructed of four pieces of wire. The
center-piece should be double the length of the bird; it is bent at
a third of its length of an oval form, and twisted two turns, the
shortest end being passed into the oval, and then raised against the
longer end, so as to produce a ring at the end, outside of the oval,
large enough to admit the two wires which pass from the feet to the
inside of the bird. It is now twisted a second time, and firmly united
to the longer end, which ought to be straight, with a sharp point,
effected by means of a file. As before directed, it is rubbed with
oil, and forced through the stuffing of the neck. It ought to be so
constructed, by measurement, that the oval part of the wire shall be
in the center of the body inside. The wires of the feet and legs, as
before directed, ought to be straight and pointed, and passed through
the soles of the feet as before. When the point has penetrated, the
other end of the wire may be bent, so that by means of it we may
be able to assist in forcing up the remainder of the wire. The two
internal ends of the foot-wires are twisted together, and curved
within, so as to pass through the small circle or ring of the middle
branch above the oval, to each side of which they are now attached with
a piece of small string.

The tail-bearer is constructed on the same principles, and attached
in the same manner, as before described, and the latter apparatus is
introduced after the neck and back are finished in the stuffing.

This practice of introducing the neck-wire, after the neck is stuffed,
was first adopted at the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, and is now
invariably adopted in that establishment in preference to introducing
it before the neck is stuffed. The neck of a swan or other long-necked
and large birds, are even done so. It is unquestionably the best plan
which has hitherto been discovered, as it preserves the cylindrical
shape of the neck.


Mr. Bullock, of the London Museum, Egyptian Hall, had another method
of arranging the wires, which, after what we have already said, will
be easily comprehended by a reference to figure 8, where we have
given a figure of his mode. After the skin is taken off and prepared,
different-sized, nealed, iron wires are procured, according to the
size of the bird they are to support. The skin is laid on its back
without stretching it; cut two pieces of wire, the one rather longer
than the bird and the other shorter, so as not to reach to the head of
the bird; twist them together, sharpen the ends of the longer by means
of a file, and pass one end through the rump and the other through the
crown of the head, near the base of the bill. Care must be taken not to
extend the neck beyond its ordinary length--a very common fault in most
preservers. Lay a little tow along the back of the skin for the wire
to rest on, then take two other pieces of strong wire and file them to
a point at one end; these are passed through the soles of the feet and
up the center of the leg-bone, or tarsus. When within the body, they
are to be fastened to the first wires by twisting them together, which,
when accomplished, may be supposed to represent the backbone. The wire
should be left two or three inches out of the soles of the feet, to
fasten them in a standing position, as before directed. Two smaller
wires are then passed through the wings, as in the legs, and afterwards
fastened to the back-wires a little higher up than the leg-wires,
taking care that no part of the skin is to be extended beyond its
natural position.

[Illustration: _Fig. 8._

_Mr. Bullock's method of inserting the wires in setting up a bird._]


A fair specimen being obtained, take common cotton wadding, and with
an ordinary paint-brush stick plug the throat, nostrils, and, in large
birds, the ears, with it, so that when the skin is turned no juices
may flow and spoil the feathers; you must then provide yourself with
the following articles: A knife of this kind is very common; a pair
of cutting pliers, a pair of strong scissors, of a moderate size; a
button-hook, a marrow-spoon, and a hand-vise. With these, a needle and
thread and a sharpener of some kind, to give your knife an occasional
touch, you are prepared, so far as implements go. Then provide yourself
with annealed iron wire of various sizes; some you may buy ready
for use, some not; but you can anneal it yourself by making it red
hot in the fire, and letting it cool in the air. Common hemp is the
next article, cotton wadding, pounded whitening, and pounded alum,
or chloride of lime; as to the poisons which are used, they will be
spoken of by and by. You should also have a common brad-awl or two, and
some pieces of quarter-inch pine whereon to stand the specimens when
preserved, if to be placed as walking on a plane; if not, some small
pieces of twigs or small branches of trees should be kept ready for
use, of various sizes, according to the size of the bird; something
of the form of Fig. 9. Cedar, or common laurel cut in December, will
be found to answer best, but this must be regulated by fancy and the
requirements of the case; oak-boughs are sometimes of a good shape.

[Illustration: _Fig. 9._

_Branch for mounting a bird._]

The best time for preserving specimens is in spring, because then the
cock birds are in the best feather, and the weather is not too warm.
In mild weather three days is a good time to keep a bird, as then the
skin will part from the flesh easily. If a specimen has bled much over
the feathers, so as to damage them, wash them carefully but thoroughly
with warm water and a sponge, and immediately cover them with pounded
whitening, which will adhere to them. Dry it as it hangs upon them
slowly before the fire, and then triturating the hardened lumps gently
between the fingers, the feathers will come out almost as clean as
ever. To test whether the specimen is too decomposed to skin, try the
feathers about the auriculars, and just above the tail, and if they do
not move you may safely proceed.

Lay the bird on his back, and, parting the feathers from the insertion
of the neck to the tail, you will find in most birds a spare space. Cut
the skin the whole length of this, and, passing the finger under it on
either side, by laying hold of one leg and bending it forward, you will
be able to bring the bare knee through the opening you have made; and
with your scissors cut it through at the joint; pull the shank still
adhering to the leg till the skin is turned back as far as it will go:
denude the bone of flesh and sinew, wrap a piece of hemp round it,
steeped in a strong solution of the pounded alum, and then pull the leg
by the claw, by which means the skin will be brought again to its place.

[Illustration: _Fig. 10._]

After having served both legs alike, skin carefully round the back,
cutting off and leaving in the tail with that into which the feathers
grow, that is, the "Pope's nose." Serve the wing-bones the same as
the leg, cutting them off close to the body, and turn the skin inside
out down to the head. The back of the skull will then appear, and
you will now find it of advantage, as soon as you have got the legs
and tail free, to tie a piece of string round the body, and hang
it up as a butcher skins a sheep. Make in the back of the skull a
cut of the annexed form, with your knife, which you can turn back
like a trap-door, and with the marrow-spoon entirely clear out the
brains; A representing the neck, and B the skin turned back. Having
done this, wash the interior of the skull thoroughly with the alum,
and fill it with cotton wadding. The next operation requires care
and practice--namely, to get out the eyes. This is done by cutting
cautiously until the lids appear, being careful not to cut the eye
itself, and you can then, with a forceps, which you will likewise find
useful, pull each from its socket; wipe the orifice carefully, wash it
with the alum solution, and fill it with cotton wadding. Cut off the
neck close to the skull, wash the stump, and the whole of the interior
of the skin with the alum, and the _skinning_ is done.

[Illustration: _Fig. 11._

_Wire bent for inserting._]

Now comes the stuffing. The ordinary mode used by bird-preservers
is a simple one, and answers very well; there is a French method,
however, which has its advantages, and will be adverted to hereafter.
Take a piece of the wire suitable to the size of the bird--that is,
as large as the legs will carry--and bend it into the following form,
_a_ representing the neck, _b_, the body, and _c_, the junction of the
tail, allowing sufficient length of the neck for the wire to pass some
distance beyond the head, and being sharpened at each end, which may
be done by obliquely cutting it with the pliers. Wind upon this wire
hemp to the side of the bird's body, which you should have lying by you
to judge from, and it will present something of this appearance. You
can shape it with the hand, but be careful not to make it the least
_too large_; and, after you have finished it to your satisfaction, you
may singe it, as the poulterer would singe a fowl, which will make all
neat; but be particular to wind the hemp very tight. Then take the
skin, lay it on the table on its back, and pass the wire at the head
into the marrow where the neck is cut off, through above the roof of
the mouth, and out at one nostril, and draw it up close to the skull;
turn the skin back, and draw it down over the hemp body, and pass the
wire spike, protruding at the lower end, through the flesh upon which
the tail grows, about the center, and rather below than above. The skin
may now be adjusted to the hemp body, and sewn up, beginning from the
top of the breast, and being particularly careful always to take the
stitch from _inside_, otherwise you will draw in the feathers at every
pull. At first sew it very loose, and then, with the button-hook, draw
it together by degrees.

[Illustration: _Fig. 12._

_The hemp wound on the wire._]

With the pliers cut two lengths of wire, long enough to pass up the
legs and into the neck, and leave something over to fasten the bird by
to the board or spray upon which it is to be placed. The next operation
requires some address and great practice, namely, the passing the wire
up the legs. This is done by forcing it into the center of the foot,
and up the back of the legs, into the hemp body, through it obliquely,
and into the neck, until it is pretty firm.

[Illustration: _Fig. 13._]

In doing this, you must remember the ordinary position of a bird when
alive, and, therefore, instead of passing the wire the whole way
_within_ the skin of the leg, when you get to the part where you have
cut off the bone--that is, the knee-joint--pass it through the skin
to the outside, where the knee would come naturally in the attitude
of standing or perching--it makes little difference which. This is
essential, because, if the wire be passed the whole way _inside_ the
skin, it produces a wrong placing of the legs. Fig 13 will illustrate
this, _a_ representing the line in which the wire should run. The bird
is now stuffed, and you may at once place it upon a spray or board,
as the case may be. In placing a bird upon a spray, the first joint
should be bent almost on a level with the foot; and in placing a bird
on a board, one leg should be placed somewhat behind the other. If the
wings are intended to be closed, as is usually the case, bring them
into their place, which may be done by putting the fingers under them,
and pressing them together over the back; you may then pass a needle,
or large pin, of which you should have a good supply by you, through
the thick part of the upper wing into the body, and so by the lower
wing, and if you allow these to protrude, you may fasten to one of them
a piece of thread, and wind it carefully and lightly round the body,
which will keep the feathers in their places, and this thread should be
kept on for a fortnight or three weeks, until the bird is dry. The tail
should be kept in its place, also, for the same time, by a piece of
thin wire bent over it, thus:

[Illustration: _Fig. 14._]

The only thing now to do is to put in the eyes. The color, of course,
depends on the bird, and these you may buy at any fishing-tackle store.
If you do not use eyes too large, you will find little difficulty;
the juice of the lids will act as a sufficient cement. As to the
mounting, I shall say nothing about that now, but shall only advert
shortly to a French method of preserving which is more difficult, but
has the advantage of superior firmness. It is this: Measuring from the
insertion of the neck to the tail, make a wire frame of this form, the
measure taken being from A. to B.

[Illustration: _Fig. 15._

_Wire Used in French Method._]

Upon this end wind hemp for the neck only, and place in the skin in
the same way as before directed, only that, instead of one wire being
passed through that in which the tail grows, it is a fork that is
passed through it. Having formed this frame, fit on to it two legs,
thus: and after the frame itself is in the skin, pass these from the
_inside_ down each leg, instead of from the outside, and fasten them
on to the frame with the pliers, by twisting the ends, B B, round the
frame, C, in the first figure.

[Illustration: _Fig. 16._

_The Wire Legs._]

This will make all firm, and you can then fill the body with cut
hemp and sew up. One word as to the other preparations used by bird
preservers. These are either corrosive sublimate or regulus of arsenic,
which is yellow and of a consistence like butter. As I have said
before, in cold weather, when there are no flies about, alum will do
perfectly well; in warm weather either of the two others may be used. I
should prefer the former--corrosive sublimate--as the other is "messy,"
and the chief object is to dry up anything which can be attacked by
flesh-seeking insects. When you have finished your bird you can lay
the feathers with a large needle--it is as well to have one fixed in
a handle and kept for this purpose--and, tying the two mandibles of
the bill together with a piece of thread until the whole specimen has
hardened and dried, the work is done.




We will suppose that a proficiency, from practice, has been attained in
the art of bird-preserving, according to the instructions given. The
proficiency in preserving may apply only to the preservation and the
form, great and necessary things, no doubt, as preliminaries; but, like
matter without manner, of little avail alone. For attitude, I would
say, as has been said to many a young artist, go to Nature, and there
you will find an original in perfection. Would you make a willow-wren
look like a willow-wren, watch him as he there hangs upon the weeping
birch, or stands on a bough peering in quest of food. Each bird has its
own manner, and if you cannot hit the manner, or make your stuffed skin
so far amenable as to assume the attitude, it is either ill-stuffed, or
you want the requisite knowledge of that which you should copy.


Having fixed on the attitude, it now only remains to put the feathers
into their natural order as smoothly and regularly as possible; and to
keep them in this state they should be bound around with small fillets
of muslin fastened with pins as represented in fig. 17. The bird should
then be thoroughly dried, by placing it in an airy situation, if in
Summer; or if in Winter, near the fire, but not so close as to affect
the natural oil contained in the feathers. The want of proper attention
in drying ruins many a fine specimen; if long kept damp putridity
ensues despite all preservatives, when the skin will become rotten, and
the feathers will soon fall off; besides, the mold and long-continued
damp change the chemical properties of the preservatives used.

[Illustration: _Fig. 17._]

After the bird has been thoroughly dried, the fillets are removed; the
wire which protruded from the head is cut off as close to the skull as
possible, with the wire cutting pincers elsewhere shown. It must then
be attached to a circular, or other shaped piece of wood, with the
generic and specific name and sex, as well as its country and locality
attached to it, on a small ticket, when it may be placed in a museum.

Young hands commonly suppose that a bird should stand bolt upright,
with the legs almost perpendicular, or at right-angles to the perch.
This is a great mistake, and never to be found in Nature. Do _we_
stand rigid, like a foot-soldier on drill? Does not a bird, as well
as ourselves, accommodate itself to the thing on which it rests?
Assuredly it does; for birds do not, as a young bird-stuffer endeavors
to do, find always a perch to rest upon in the plane of the horizon.
It therefore follows that, as he keeps himself upright, his legs must
accommodate themselves to his perch. So in the ground-birds there is a
gentle slope backwards from the hind toe, the balance being preserved
in both cases by throwing the body forward in proportion. It is not
uncommon to see birds preserved with wings and tail spread. Now,
ordinarily speaking, this is very objectionable, because very unnatural.

[Illustration: _Fig. 18._

_Fig. 19._

_Fig. 20._

_Proper positions of birds._]

A bird preserved is supposed to represent a bird in a state of repose;
that is, not in flight; the only modification allowable being with
regard to those birds whose manner it may be to have the wings more
or less open on occasions; thus the falcon tribe, supposing they are
represented as devouring a quarry, or two birds toying with each other.
It may be that a bird essentially aerial, like the swift, or perhaps
some of the terns or the frigate bird, may be represented as actually
on the wing. In this case, of course, the wings must be spread; and
this is best done by passing a wire, not too thick, from the base of
the quill-feathers on the under side alongside the bone into the body,
where it should be carefully and coaxingly inserted towards the tail
until you feel that you have a pretty good hold. You may then pass it
carefully under the longest quill-feather, and through the back of the
case, and fasten it by bringing it back again through and clinching it,
concealing it so by the oblique position of the bird that it is not
detectable. It is obvious that by passing the wire alongside the bone,
you may bend the wings to any angle you please.

With regard to the case, there are two methods; one a bell-glass,
which, glass being now so reasonable, is certainly a very pretty and
reasonable way of mounting, but inapplicable to birds which are to be
placed on a wall, or to be represented flying; although this may be
managed by attaching one wire from the point of the wing to a twig
sufficiently firm, which it will scarcely appear to touch, if managed
adroitly. It is likewise indispensable that a bird for a shade should
be stuffed so well as to look nicely in all positions. One thing must
always be remembered, _do not have your case a shade too large_, just
clear the object so as not to stint it for room; and in flat cases
this applies chiefly to depth, for it should have sufficient light,
or it will not look well. Wooden cases should be made as slight (in
thickness) as is consistent with firmness; well-seasoned white deal is
best; and the case should be formed of back, top and bottom, open at
the front and sides, and at each corner of the front two slight deal
supports, rabbited on their inner edges, and presenting on the whole
this appearance.

Having the case prepared, it should be papered with ordinary demy paper
on the top and back within, and, when the paste is dry, washed over
carefully with size and whitening, tinted with a little stone-blue;
some add some touches of white subsequently to represent clouds, the
ground representing the air; some also paste a landscape on the back,
but this must be good, or you had better have plain color. The bird
to be placed in this case is either perching, standing or flying. For
the latter, directions have been given. As to the two former, the
perch must be firmly fixed in the small piece of flat wood upon which
it previously stood, and put in upon it, the wood being fastened to
the bottom of the case, either by screwing from below, from above, or
gluing with stout glue, or by passing wire through two holes in the
bottom of the case and the wood, and clinching above. In this case,
or in screwing from below, let the wire or the screw into the wood,
and putty over, and so if the bird is represented standing. The bird
being fixed, the next thing is the decorating or "weeding," as it is
technically called, and here we enter upon a subject so entirely of
taste and fancy, that no fixed rules, as to the disposition, can in
all cases be given. One rule applies equally to this as to landscape
painting, viz., that there should always be a compensation of objects.
That is, if you have a turf of grass on one side which rises towards
the top of the case, there should be something in the lower opposite
corner to strike the eye, but not to rise above midway at furthest,
and the ground, or floor, should not be over-furnished with moss, etc.
After the bird is fixed, the whole bottom should be carefully glued
over with thin glue, taking care, where the bird's feet are at the
bottom, not to touch the toes with the glue. Some fine-sifted sand
or gravel should then be sifted over it, and it will adhere wherever
the glue has touched; for this purpose a small tin shovel is best,
something in this form, and about two inches wide by four long, with a
handle in proportion, which can be made to order at any tin-man's for a

Everything used in "weeding" should be baked in a slow oven, otherwise
spiders' eggs and minute creatures, which are pretty sure to be
contained in it, will make their appearance after the case is closed
in the disagreeable form of destroying your specimen. Moss, etc., by
being slowly dried, will also keep its color better. Yellow moss, found
on the roofs of old barns, and dark gray of the same species, are very
generally useful: and where yellow moss cannot be had, the white or
gray may be colored with chrome, and looks as well. Water-plants fade,
being more or less succulent, and hence a little common water-color
with gum will be used with advantage and look less artificial than
oil paint, which is often used. Fern looks very pretty as an adjunct
for heath-birds, but it should be dried gradually and carefully, when
_quite_ full grown, and a small touch of light green, permanent white
forming a portion of it, will give it a freshness and more natural
appearance. Grass in seed (not in flower) of various kinds is also a
very pretty addition; but bird preservers have a habit of using dyed
grass, and yellow and red _Xeranthymum_, or Everlasting, which is
certainly to be avoided, and indeed anything which is unnatural. If it
is wished to introduce a lump of earth, or an apparent bank, a piece
of thick brown paper, bent to the requisite shape, and glued over and
covered with sifted sand or gravel, has a very good effect; but insects
and butterflies, or artificial flowers, unless they are extremely
natural, should certainly be avoided. Regard should also be had to the
season at which the bird is usually seen.

For instance, Summer birds are, of course, surrounded by green and
living objects, but Autumn or Winter visitants by decaying or dead
herbage. It has often been made an experiment to represent snow, but
it is difficult to obtain anything white enough, and at the same time
of a crystalline character, which, of course, it should be. Potato
farina nicely dried, mixed with Epsom salts pounded very fine, does not
make a bad substitute; but the real difficulty lies behind, namely,
in fixing it, and, more than all, the least damp takes very much from
its appearance, if it does not destroy the effect, and hence we must
have recourse to mineral aid, and any very white mineral powder mingled
with pounded glass is perhaps best. It is unnecessary to say that the
herbage upon which it is meant to rest should be touched all over
with paste, not glue, and the white mixture shaken over and left to
dry. What will heighten the effect very much, if prettily executed,
is a black landscape with a dark leaden sky and nearly black earth
mingled with moss. To represent water, a small piece of looking-glass,
surrounded with moss, etc., answers very well. The bills and legs of
birds should be always varnished, and where the natural color fades
after death it should be restored by a thin coat of oil-color of the
required shade. The bird being fixed and the case garnished, nothing
remains but to put in the glass; this is in three pieces, one for the
front and a piece at each end. This can be pasted in with very strong
paper round the edge, advancing sufficiently over the glass to hold
it. In doing this it is not necessary to be very particular to avoid
pasting the glass, as after it is dried it can be wiped clean with a
damp cloth. The last operation is a very simple one, and done in a few
minutes. You must procure some black spirit-varnish, which you can
make yourself by dissolving the best black sealing-wax in spirits of
wine, and should be kept corked; when this is good it acts as paint and
varnish at the same time, and dries as fast as it is put on. One or two
brass rings screwed on at the top of the back of the case will finish
the bird, and if the case be nicely and closely made, there is no limit
of time to which the preservation of the specimen may not extend.


We must now say something respecting the setting up of skins which have
been preserved by travelers, and sent home from distant parts.

The general method is exactly the same as in stuffing recent specimens.
There are, however, some preliminary steps which it is necessary to

If the specimen sent home has been partially stuffed, our first
business is to undo the stitches, if it has been sewed--which was an
unnecessary process. We then remove the whole cotton or tow from the
inside, by the assistance of forceps, and from the neck with a small
piece of wire, twisted or hooked at the end. Having finished this,
small balls of wet cotton are placed in the orbits of the eyes, and the
legs and feet are wrapped round with wet cotton or linen rags. A _damp_
cloth is then thrown over the bird, and it is allowed to remain in this
state till next day. The neck and body are then filled with wet linen
or cotton, and it will be ready for commencing setting up in four or
five hours.

The eyes are now put in, as directed in the recent subjects, and
then stuffed in exactly the same manner. Some difficulty will,
however, be experienced with respect to the leg-wires, and it will
require more time and care, from the dryness of the legs, to get
the wire to penetrate. Having proceeded so far as to get the bird
generally formed, the wings are next adjusted; this also is frequently
difficult, owing to the stiffness of the tendons and want of proper
attention in skinning and drying them at first. Indeed, with some of
the South American birds, a proper adjustment of the wings is found
impracticable, owing to the attempts of the native Indians of Guyana,
who seldom dispose them properly.

When these skins--frequently exceedingly valuable from their
rarity--are undone, to be remounted, it is oftentimes found utterly
impossible to get the wings to take a natural set, in which case there
is no other remedy but cutting them off close to the body, and fixing
them anew. The scapulars are separated, they are softened with damp
cloths, and then wrapped up with bands of sheet lead, to give them a
proper set. When we have got them in their natural shape, they must be
fixed to the sides by cement and cotton, and a long pin through each,
with the head concealed amongst the feathers. The scapulars, which we
have cut off, must then be cemented on, and they will effectually cover
the joining of the wings. The bird being now arranged, and all the
feathers adjusted, it is wrapped round with small bands of fine linen
or muslin, and set aside till thoroughly dry.

Should any feathers be disengaged during the mounting, they must be
kept, and, when the bird is dry, we can replace them in their proper
situations with a pair of forceps, after they have been touched on
their shafts with the cement; the feathers around the place in which we
intend to insert them must be held up with the probing-needle.

If any of the feathers are deranged in mounting, and have got a wrong
set, the only way to remedy the defect is to pull them out with
forceps, and re-insert them with cement.


Rare birds are frequently received from foreign countries, the skins of
which are in such a state of decay, that it is impossible to mount them
by the ordinary process above described. The only way in which they can
be preserved, is to mount them feather by feather, which, however, is a
very tedious method. It is as follows:

Procure a piece of soft pliable wire, such as is used by bell-hangers;
or take some of the ordinary wire used, and make it red-hot in the
fire, and allow it to cool gradually, when it will become quite
pliable. Take five pieces of this, of different lengths, and form them
into the skeleton of a body; namely, two for the back, one on each
side, and one to represent the breast-bone. Imitate the shape of the
bird's body as nearly as possible. The wires must be roughened with
a file, at the place where all the wires meet, at the neck and rump;
and first wrap the place next the neck round with strong thread or
fine brass wire. Two pieces intended for the back must bend gently
downwards, and be gradually separated from each other towards the
center, and brought together again at the place intended for the
rump, whither they must intersect each other, and be twisted two or
three times, to keep them in their place; they are then spread out
as supports for the tail; the side-pieces are next formed, so as to
represent the natural bulge of a bird's body, and attached to the rump;
the piece representing the breast is then formed, joined at the rump,
and afterwards continued as long as the other tail-pieces, to support
the center of the tail; while at the front extremity a piece is left,
for the purpose of forming a neck to which to attach the head. Two
leg-wires are attached to the side-wires, being rolled round them for
several turns, making a frame-work the shape of the bird.

After this body has been properly formed, it must be wrapped round
with tow-sliver, and the neck thickened to its required dimensions.
When this is accomplished, the head, legs, wings and tail are softened
in the usual manner; the eyes are then fixed in with some cotton
introduced into the orbits, with a little of the cement. The wings and
tail are now placed on a table, with a flat leaden weight above each,
to restore them to their natural shape. The leg-wires are then passed
through the legs, commencing at the top, and bringing them out at the
soles of the feet, and left with a piece extending beyond the claws.

The tail is now fixed on, by first attaching to it a quantity of cotton
with the cement, and, when dry, it is fixed to the part intended as the

The feet of the bird must be fixed into a piece of wood, as a perch,
the ends of which must be left some inches beyond the body. The end
next to the tail is fixed into a table-vise, with the belly upwards,
and the head pointing toward the operator. The feathers are now put
on, commencing under the tail, or crissum, with what are termed the
under-tail coverts; a coating of cement must be previously laid on, to
attach the feathers with. It is proceeded with upwards to the breast,
and finally the length of the neck, taking care to put the proper
feathers on their respective sides, as the side-feathers have all an
inclination to one side. The bird is now turned with the back up, still
keeping the head towards the stuffer; and the wings are fixed on with
cement, and pins forced through the beards of the feathers to conceal
the heads. When this is done put on the feathers of the rump, and
proceed upwards, as has been done with the belly. After reaching the
top of the neck, the head is then fixed on with some cotton immersed in
the cement, and allowed to dry before attempting to put on the feathers.

In this mode of mounting a bird there are several things which must
be attentively adhered to; these are--first, not to put the feathers
too thick, for there is a danger of running short; secondly, all the
shafts of the feathers must have a small bit cut off the tip, so as to
admit the cement and to give them a firmer hold; and thirdly, that the
feathers should all occupy their respective parts; and fourthly, that
they should be arranged as they are in nature on these parts, as the
disposition of every part of the body is peculiar to itself.

At first, this mode of setting up birds will be found a difficult task,
but, by a little practice and experience, it will become familiar and
comparatively easy, although it will always be found a tedious process.
We have seen some specimens set up in this way, which we could hardly
detect from those mounted in the ordinary manner.

Besides what we have already said concerning the stuffing and
preparing of birds, there are many details connected with particular
species which demand our attention, and which can only be described
as regarding that species. It will, however, be impossible for us to
enter into all these minutely, but only give a few examples as general
guides. We shall take these in systematic succession.


In the preservation of the feathers of Birds, little else is required
to prevent the dissipation of their colors than to keep them as much as
possible from air and light. These two agents, which were indispensable
to their beauty and perfection in a living state, now exercise their
influence as destroyers, and that influence will sooner or later work
its ends according to the quality, texture, or color of the object with
which it is contending. The feathers are now deprived of two agents,
which in a living state contributed to their vigor and their beauty,
namely, the internal circulating juices which they received from the
body of the animal, and the external application of oil by the bill of
the bird, supplied from a gland which is placed over the rump of all

The colors of the rapacious tribes are not so evanescent as those of
many others, as they, for the most part are composed of intense browns
and blacks, which are not so easily absorbed by light or air, so that
they continue for a very long period without any sensible difference.
There are, however, certain other points which are liable to almost
immediate change of color after the death of the animals, and these are
the cere and skin of the legs and feet, and the naked skin on the heads
and necks of Vultures and their congeners. We shall treat of these

Now, as all these colors which we have described are liable to change,
immediately after death, it is evident that considerable nicety will
be required to give the preserved specimen the appearance of nature.
These must, therefore, be supplied artificially with the varnish
colors, which we have particularly described in their proper place,
as also the combinations for the formation of compound colors. The
reddish-brown color mentioned, of which the fold is composed, must be
touched by a mixture of the scarlet varnish, with a little powdered
burnt umber, and the blue streaks with which it is traversed, colored
above with cobalt blue. All the varnish colors have a tendency to
shine, which, it will be evident, is not the character of any part of
the skin, or caruncle of the bird described. As soon, therefore, as it
is thoroughly dry, which will be in about an hour, the whole surface
must be gently rubbed with very fine sand-paper, which will completely
remove the gloss and give the appearance of nature.

Some nicety will be required in painting betwixt the hairs, but it can
be easily managed with a little caution. Sometimes these hairs are
liable to become brown, in which case they can be touched with the
black varnish.

As these birds are inhabitants of warm climates, some care is
requisite, after killing them, to prevent decay; the tendons of the
legs should be extracted to prevent their being attacked by moths, and
their place supplied by some cotton and preservatives. The tendons are
extracted by means of a longitudinal incision made behind the tarsus.
The edges of this incision can easily be brought together when the bird
is under the process of preparation.



Few objects of Natural History are more interesting than the nests of
birds. To the reflecting naturalist, they open up a wide field for
inquiry. Speaking of the examination of birds, in the exercise of their
mechanical arts of constructing nests, Professor Rennie says: "This
work is the business of their lives--the duty which calls forth that
wonderful ingenuity which no experience can teach, and which no human
skill can rival. The infinite variety of modes in which the nests
of birds are constructed, and the exquisite adaptation of the nest
to the peculiar habits of the individual, offer a subject of almost
exhaustless interest." The number and variety of the eggs of birds
are curious subjects of contemplation, and should be carefully noted
whenever opportunity offers. They are as essential to the personal
history of the species as any other part of our inquiries.

The eggs are emptied of their contents by making a very small hole
at each end with a point. By blowing at one of the ends, the contents
will escape by the other, unless the young has been already formed; in
which case a larger hole must be made in the side of the egg, and the
contents removed with a small hook. The hole should then be stopped
up by pasting a little gold-beater's leaf over it. The eggs are then
either returned to their nest, in which they ought to be cemented, or
should be fixed down by one side to cards, with the name and locality

The best manner of conveying loose eggs to a distance is to put some
cotton at the bottom of the nest, and then another layer above them.
The nests should all be put up in separate boxes, if possible, and
so packed that the pressure of the lid may not injure the eggs, or a
box with several compartments should be used, taking care that each
is carefully marked. It would also be of consequence to have the
nests attached to the branches, with those species which build on
trees, which will enable us to trace the ingenious means employed by
those little animals in constructing their habitations. In sending
home specimens from a foreign country, the seams of the box should
be covered by pitched cloth, to protect them from the influence of

To preserve the shells of eggs, first take care to clear them of their
contents; get a small, fine-pointed common syringe, such as is sold
in toy-shops, and inject the specimen with water until it comes out
quite clean. When an egg has been partly hatched or addled, the removal
of the contents generally includes that of the internal membrane or
pellicle: this makes the shell weaker. When the specimens are quite
clean internally, and have become dry (which will be in a day or two),
take the syringe and inject them with a strong solution of isinglass
(with a little sugar-candy added to prevent its cracking); blow this
out again whilst warm. Let the shell get dry, and then wash the outside
with a soft wet cloth to remove saline particles, dirt from the nest,
etc. This method varnishes the inside, and the first specimen on which
it has been tried was the before-mentioned hedge-accentor's egg, which
is to this day as bright in color as a fresh specimen.

Also in a pair of nightjar's eggs, of which species the delicate
gray tint is particularly evanescent, one was injected in the manner
described, and the other was not; in the first the gray is still
perfectly defined, in the other it has entirely disappeared. Eggs which
have lost their internal pellicle become strengthened by this process,
and those which have not lost their color greatly improved.




SKINNING.--The first operation is to separate the back and breast-shells
with a strong short knife or chisel. If the force of the hand is
inadequate, a mallet may be used, taking care not to strike so hard as
to crack the shell.

These two bony plates being covered by the skin, or by scales, the
scapula, and all the muscles of the arm and neck, in place of being
attached to the ribs and spine, are placed below, from which cause the
tortoise has been termed a retroverted animal. The vertebral extremity
of the scapula is articulated with the shield, and the opposite
extremity of the clavicle with the breast-plate in such a manner that
the shoulders form a ring for the passage of the windpipe and gullet.

After the turtle is opened, all the flesh which adheres to the
breast-plate, and also to the upper shell, is removed, while attention
is paid to the parts as above described. The head, fore-feet, and tail
are skinned as in quadrupeds; but none of these must be removed from
the upper shell, but left attached.

All the fleshy parts being removed, the shells are washed out with a
sponge, and carefully dried. They are then slightly rubbed with the
arsenical soap.

STUFFING.--Wires are now passed through the middle of the legs, after
the skin has been rubbed with the preservative. The skull is returned
to its place, and the whole of the head, neck, and legs stuffed with
chopped flax or tow. The parts of the skin which have been cut are then
sewed together. The back and breast-plates are then united by four
small holes, being bored at their edges, and united by strings or small
wires. The junction of the bones may then be attached with the cement,
colored so as to correspond with the shell.

If the calipash is dirty, it may be cleaned with a slight solution
of nitric acid and water; afterwards cleanly washed, oiled, and then
rubbed with a woolen rag, to give it a polish.


SKINNING.--All this tribe are skinned in the same manner as quadrupeds.
Care, however, is required in skinning the tails of the smaller
species, as they are very liable to break. The skins being of a
dry nature, require but little of the preservative. After they are
thoroughly dried they will keep a very long time without decay.

STUFFING.--Stuff them as directed for quadrupeds. They admit of but
little variety of attitude. The small species are exceedingly apt
to change color in drying; which must be imitated with the colored
varnishes, and afterwards dimmed with sand-paper. To keep them in their
natural colors, they should be preserved in spirits.

The skins of such as are glossy should be varnished after they are
perfectly dry.


SKINNING.--In skinning serpents there is some nicety required, to cut
them so as not to disfigure the scales; the opening should be made in
the side, commencing at the termination of the scales; and they should
on no account be divided, as upon their number the species is mostly

It is a very frequent practice to send home serpents without the
head, which renders them quite unfit for any scientific purpose. This
proceeds from the fear of receiving poison from the fangs. But there
is not the slightest danger of being affected, as these can easily be
cut out by means of pincers. The head should be cleaned and the brain
removed, in the same manner as recommended for birds and quadrupeds,
the skull anointed and then returned into the skin.

When the skin is removed, it may be rolled up and packed in small
space. The simplest way to preserve small species is to put them in
spirits, which must not be too strong, as it will destroy the colors.

Mr. Burchell, in his four years' journey through Africa, glued the
skins of the smaller serpents perfectly flat on paper, which preserved
the size of the animal, and the skin retained all the beauty of life.

STUFFING.--The skin, if not recent, must be first softened in the
manner recommended for birds. A piece of wire is taken, the length
of the animal, which must be wrapped round with tow till it is of a
proper thickness, and above the whole a spiral band of sliver should be
carefully wrapped. It is then placed inside of the skin, and sewed up.
The eyes are placed in as directed for quadrupeds and birds. When dry,
give the serpent a coat of varnish, and then twist it into any attitude
wished. A favorite and striking one is to have it wound round some
animal, and in the act of killing it.


SKINNING.--The mouth is opened, and the first vertebræ of the neck is
cut. The whole inside of the mouth is cut out with scissors. The two
jaws are next raised up, and the skin is pushed back with the fingers
of the right hand, while the body is drawn back in a contrary direction
with the other hand, and the whole body is then drawn out at the mouth.
The legs are then returned to their proper place.

STUFFING.--The simplest method of stuffing these animals is with sand.
A small funnel is placed in the mouth, and pour in well-dried sand.
When full, a small piece of cotton is pushed into the throat, with some
of the cement, to keep the sand from escaping on moving the animal.

The Frog is then placed on a board, and in an attitude. When quite dry,
give it a coat of varnish. When this has perfectly dried, very small
perforations are made under the belly with the point of a needle, and
the sand allowed to escape, leaving the body in its natural form.

These animals are liable to change of color from drying, and should,
therefore, be painted with the varnish to their natural hues. There is
less difficulty with Toads in this respect, as they are usually of a
brown color, and not liable to much change.

They may be perfectly preserved in spirits.


The best method of securing the scales and colors of Fish, is, as soon
as they are caught, to apply cambric or tissue paper to them, which
will soon dry and adhere firmly; the body may be then taken out and the
skin dried. When the skin is to be stuffed, roll it in a moist cloth,
which will not only render it pliable, but also soften the tissue
paper, so as it can be removed, when the colors will be found to be
much brighter than by any other method with which we are yet acquainted.


These species may be skinned in the same manner as Frogs and Toads, by
drawing the body through the mouth.


The fish should be procured as fresh as possible, more particularly if
it is one of those on which the scales are loosely attached. Lay it
on one side and cut the gills with a pair of scissors; then introduce
a little tow or piece of sponge into the place to prevent the blood
from flowing during the process of skinning; let the fins be raised
and gently extended, and two pieces of paper, something the shape
of each, be placed under them, only extending a little beyond them.
Coat the paper with a weak solution of gum-arabic, and put a piece of
similar size on the top of the fin; by pressing these gently they will
adhere and dry in a few minutes; these will keep the fins extended, and
preserve them during the operation of stuffing. When these are dry,
take a piece of tissue paper or thin silk, and press it gently on one
side of the fish. The natural glutinous matter which covers the scales
will be sufficient to make it adhere firmly; it will soon dry and form
a strong protection to the scales during the skinning. Without this
precaution the skin could not be removed from mullet, sea beaver, etc.,
without the scales being much disfigured, and losing many of them.
Indeed, in such fishes, it is not amiss to put on an additional coating
of paper with gum-water. This will not only secure the scales, but
will also assist in keeping the proper form of the fish, by preventing

When these papers are thoroughly dry, turn the fish on a soft cloth,
with the uncovered side upwards, and open it with sharp scissors from
the bottom of the tail-fin to nearly the point of the snout, keeping as
correctly on the lateral line as possible, which can be seen in most
fishes. The cheek should be afterwards cut open, so that the flesh may
be removed from it; cut also the flesh from the opposite cheek, and
supply its place by cotton. The skin must now be detached from the
flesh, which will require some care at first. It must be commenced at
the head, and separating it downwards with the assistance of a knife,
and the fin-bones must be cut through with scissors. The spine must now
be cut through close to the head, and also at the tail, and the body

All the animal matter having been completely removed from the skin,
the inside must be wiped dry, and the preservative applied in the same
manner as directed for birds and quadrupeds. Great care is necessary to
prevent it from being too much distended.

IN SHARKS and LARGE FISHES, an incision is made below the head, and
extended to the fin of the tail; the skin is then separated on each
side with a scalpel, cutting back as far as possible, so that the
vertebræ may be cut close to the head. The tail is then skinned. The
head is pushed inwards, and the skin passed over it above, and all the
cartilage cut carefully away. Care must be taken not to enlarge the
branchial openings too much, which would render it necessary to sew
them up again, and it is not easy to hide a seam in a fish's skin.

DIADON, TETRADON, and BALISTES, and their congeners, are opened by the
belly. The ostracion is enveloped in a skin, which consists of a single
piece, the tail of which only is free and flexible. The opening in the
belly must not be large; the tail must be opened, the flesh cut away,
and stuffed with cotton.


The skins, being properly anointed, are filled with tow or cotton. This
must be so managed that there will be no prominences on the outside of
the skin, which in fishes, is smooth and even for the most part. When
properly filled, they must be sewed up, and set aside to dry in the
air, but not exposed to the rays of the sun. In a few days, the papers
with which the fins were extended are taken off, by damping them with
a sponge. The glass eyes are now introduced, after filling the orbits
with cotton and a little cement to secure them in their places. The
skins may then be coated with turpentine varnish.

SHARKS.--In stuffing these large fishes, it is necessary to use a
stick for a center support. This must also enter the head, through the
opening of the throat. If it is intended that the specimen shall be
suspended from the ceiling, wire-hooks must be fastened into the wood.
From these must be placed upright wires, so that they penetrate the
skin, and pass through the back. Let the whole internal surface of the
skin be well rubbed with the preservative. The body is then stuffed to
its full size, and afterwards sewed up. The stuffing of the head must
be completed through the orbits of the eyes, and also by the mouth.
This finished, the glass eyes are inserted, as in other animals, and
fixed by means of cement.

Many species of fish have semi-transparent cartilages connected with
the eyes. These must be imitated with gum-arabic and powdered starch,
as well as the cornea of the eyes.

The skins of all fish, which are similar to that of sharks, must be
well supplied with spirits of turpentine, after they are mounted, more
particularly the head and fins; but as they are not glossy, they do not
require to be varnished.

When the fins are strong, it is necessary to keep them extended by
means of a wire introduced through them.

In the Diadons, the chief thing to be attended to, beyond what we have
stated, is, to take care that the spines, with which their skins are
beset, are not broken or depressed in any way.

Salmon, Trout, Tench, Carp, Pike, etc., are very easily preserved, as
the scales are firmly attached to the skin; and although they become
somewhat dim from drying, their colors and brilliancy are considerably
restored by means of varnish, if applied before they are thoroughly

After a lapse of time, the varnish will rise into little scales; to
remove these, nitric acid, diluted in water, must be applied to the
whole external surface, which has the effect of completely taking
off the varnish, or at least of raising it from the skin, which,
when allowed to dry, can be wholly removed by rubbing it with a
small brush. It may then be varnished again; when dry, it will ever
afterwards continue quite solid.

What is above recommended will apply to almost all fishes.


In this class are included crabs, lobsters, and their congeners. These
animals are all protected by a coriaceous covering, or shell, which
is easily preserved, although there is considerable difficulty in
preserving the colors of some species.

The flesh must be extracted from the large claws of lobsters and
crabs by breaking the smallest possible piece from their points and
introducing a small, crooked wire; in the smaller claws the flesh must
be allowed to dry, and to facilitate this extremely small perforations
should be made in opposite sides of the shell by means of a sharp,
triangular awl, so as to allow the air to pass through it.

In lobsters the branchiæ and all the intestines must be cut away;
the latter is effected by separating the body from the lower parts,
and then extracting the internal parts with any sharp instrument;
it should then be dried and cemented together, after being well
anointed with the preservative. In crabs, the body, with all the limbs
attached, is pulled separate from the back shell and the whole fleshy
matter carefully picked out and preserving powder and the solution of
corrosive sublimate applied to the different internal parts. In drying
lobsters, crabs, etc., they should be exposed to a free current of air,
but not to the sun's rays, as it reddens the shells of crustaceous

It need hardly be mentioned, that before applying the preservatives,
the shells should be well washed with cold water.

The Hermit-Crab always takes possession of the shell of some turbinated
Univalve as its domicile. These are easily preserved by pulling out
the animal after it is dead. An incision is made in the soft tail of
the animal, and the contents allowed to run off; it is then filled
with cotton and imbued with the preservative; some cement is then put
on the tail and the animal returned to its shell, which completes the
operation of preserving.

In sending home crustaceous animals, the larger species should be
emptied of their fleshy matter, which, however, is not necessary with
the smaller species; they should be packed in middling-sized cases, and
each wrapped in separate papers, with a thick bed of cotton or flax
between each. In Lobsters, and the species which are allied to them,
great care must be exercised in preserving the tentacula or feelers
which emanate from their heads, as these become very brittle after they
are dried. In proceeding to set up specimens which have been sent
home, they should be immersed in _cold_ water for some time, to give
pliability to the tentacula and other parts, without which it will be
impossible to set them up in any way without their breaking.

Mr. Bullock recommended that Crabs and all other crustaceous animals
should be immersed in corrosive sublimate and water for an hour
previous to their being put into attitudes.

When the joints become loose they are in general attached by glue, but
the cement is much better.

N. B.--On no account whatever use warm water in cleaning crustaceous
animals, as it is certain to change their colors.




The general directions which we shall give respecting Insects, hold
good as to Spiders, only we must mention there is considerable
difficulty in preserving the bodies of Spiders, which generally, in a
very short time, shrink into a shapeless mass. To prevent this, the
body should be pricked with the triangular awl and the contents pressed
out; it should then be stuffed with very fine carded cotton or down,
which can be pushed in by a pricker, blunted a little at the point.
When properly distended, the small aperture should be filled up with
a little cement, or a solution of gum-arabic. The legs of the larger
species, such as the Bird-catching Mygale and the Scorpions, are also
liable to shrink, and should be stuffed in the same manner as that of
the body.

In those species of Spiders which we have thus prepared, and whose
colors are rich and likely to be affected by the action of the
atmosphere, we must endeavor to arrest its progress by immediately
imbuing the animal, after it is set up, with the solution of corrosive
sublimate, and in an hour after with a thin coating of a very weak
white-spirit varnish; for this purpose, take a tea-spoonful of
the ordinary white-spirit or elastic varnish, and add to it two
tea-spoonfuls of spirit of wine; apply this wash with a fine camel-hair
brush, which will quickly dry, and have a strong tendency to preserve
the color. The varnish, being thus reduced in strength, will not leave
any gloss on the insect, nor will it be at all perceptible.

Mr. Samouelle, author of "The Entomologist's Useful Compendium," in
speaking of preserving Spiders, says: "The best preserved specimens
that I have seen are those where the contents of the abdomen have been
taken out and filled with fine sand. I have preserved several in this
way, and find it answers the purpose."

Mr. Donovan makes the following observations on the preservation of

"To determine whether some species of Spiders could be preserved with
their natural colors, I put several into spirits of wine; those with
gibbous bodies soon after discharged a very considerable quantity of
viscid matter, and therewith all their beautiful colors; the smallest
retained their form, and only appeared rather paler in the other colors
than when they were living.

"During the course of last Summer, among other Spiders, I met with a
rare species; it was of a bright yellow color, elegantly marked with
black, red, green, and purple; by some accident it was unfortunately
crushed to pieces in the chip-box wherein it was confined, and was,
therefore, thrown aside as useless; a month or more after that time I
observed that such parts of the skin as had dried against the inside
of the box retained the original brightness of color in a considerable
degree. To further the experiment, I made a similar attempt, with some
caution, on the body of another Spider, and, though the colors were not
perfectly preserved, they appeared distinct.

"From further observations I find, that if you kill the Spider, and
immediately after extract the entrails, then inflate them by means of
a blow-pipe, you may preserve them tolerably well; you must clean them
on the inside no more than is sufficient to prevent moldiness, lest you
injure the colors, which certainly, in many kinds, depend on substance
that lies beneath the skin."

Scorpions, and all the Spider tribe, may be sent home in spirits, which
will preserve them perfectly, and when taken out and dried, they will
be found to have suffered nothing from their immersion. We have seen
some specimens sent up, after being sent home in spirits, which rivaled
any which have been preserved in a recent state. The animals of this
class are particularly liable to the attacks of insects, particularly
in warm countries, on which account the mode of transporting them
and keeping them in spirits is, perhaps, superior to all others. If,
however, they are set up in a warm climate, they should be well soaked
with the solution of corrosive sublimate, made according to the recipe
of Mr. Waterton.

For the setting up of this class, see the directions for preserving


Every country of the world is replete with this extensive and
interesting class of beings, whose forms are infinitely diversified,
and whose species are the most numerous of any class in the animal

Before any attempt is made to collect insects, certain apparatus must
be provided, not only to enable us to secure them, but also to preserve
them after they are caught.

First, then, we must be provided with a quantity of wooden boxes, from
18 to 20 inches long, 15 to 17 inches wide; and two inches deep. These
should have well-filled lids, with hinges, and fastened by a wire
catch, or small bolt. The bottom should have a layer of cork, about the
sixth of an inch in thickness, which should be fixed down with very
strong paste, made according to our recipe; and also some wire nails,
to prevent it from springing. Over the cork should be pasted white
paper. The box should be anointed inside with oil of petroleum. If that
cannot be procured, make an infusion of strong aromatic plants, such as
cinnamon, aloes, thyme, laurel, sage, rosemary, or cloves, and wash the
inside with it. A small packet of camphor should be wrapped in a piece
of rag, and deposited in a corner of the box.

We must also be provided with a quantity of _Insect pins_, of different
sizes, corresponding with the size of the insect. The pins used for
setting should be longer than those which are taken to the field.

Bottles, with mouths from an inch and a quarter to two inches in
diameter, must also be procured, and these must be three-fourths full
of spirits, such as weak brandy, rum, gin or whisky.

HUNTING-BOX.--We must besides have what is termed a hunting-box, for
carrying in our pocket, when seeking after insects. This should be
made of strong pasteboard or chip, for lightness, or, if this is no
consideration, of tin. It must be of an oblong-oval shape, rounded at
the ends, for the convenience of the pocket. It should be from eight to
ten inches long, four to five inches wide, and two and a half to three
inches deep. It must have a layer of cork both in the bottom and top of
the lid, inside, for attaching insects to, when caught during the day.
The larger insects are placed at the bottom, and the smaller ones on
the lid.

THE ENTOMOLOGICAL.--We next procure a net, constructed similar to a
bat-fowling net. This is either made of fine gauze or coarse muslin;
it may either be green or white--the latter is the best for observing
small insects which may be caught; the green, however, is better
adapted for catching Moths. The net-rods should be made of hickory,
beech, hazel, or holly; they ought to be five feet in length, quite
round, smooth, and tapering to an obtuse point; the oblique cross-piece
at the point should be of cane, and fitted into the angular ferule; the
rod must be divided into three or four pieces, so that it may be taken
asunder and carried in the pocket; the upper part of each joint must
have a ferule affixed to it, for the purpose of articulating the other
pieces. Each joint should have a notch or check to prevent the rod from

The net itself, must have a welting all around it, doubled so as to
form a groove for the reception of the rods. In the center of the upper
part or point it must have a small piece of chamois leather, so as to
form a kind of hinge; this must be bound round the welting, and divided
in the middle, so as to prevent the cross pieces from slipping over
each other; it shows about four inches of the gauze turned up, so as to
form a bag; there are strings for the purpose of passing through the
staple, to which the net is firmly drawn on each side. When the net is
used a handle is to be held in each hand.

If it is intended to take insects on the wing, by means of this net,
for which it is admirably adapted, it may be folded together in an
instant. If the gauze is fine enough, and preserved whole, even the
smallest insect cannot escape. It may be also applied in catching
Coleopterous Insects, which are never on the wing, as well as
Caterpillars. When used for this purpose the Entomologist must hold
it expanded under trees, while another must beat the branches with a
stick. Great numbers of both insects and larva will fall in the gauze,
and by this means many hundreds may be captured in a day.

Another method is to spread a large table-cloth under trees and bushes,
and then beat them with a stick. An umbrella reversed has frequently
been used for the same purpose. Bose, the celebrated naturalist, used
this last method--he held the umbrella in the left hand, while he beat
the bushes with the other.

THE HOOP OR AQUATIC NET.--This net is used for capturing Aquatic
Insects, which are either lurking at the bottom, swimming through the
liquid element, or adhering to plants. It may also be successfully used
in sweeping amongst grass and low herbage, for Coleopterous Insects,
and others which are generally to be found in such situations. The
socket for the handle may be made of such dimensions as will answer the
second joint of the Entomological net-rod, which will save carrying
another handle; or a walking-stick may be made to fit it.

A VIAL.--This may either be made of tin or crystal, and used for
collecting Coleopterous and other Creeping Insects. The mouth should
be nearly an inch wide, and a cork exactly fitted to it, in the center
of which must be inserted a small quill, to afford air, and inserted
about an inch beyond the cork, to prevent the insects from escaping.
If the bottle is made of tin, and of a larger size, a tin tube must be
introduced into its side, and terminating externally at the surface.

A DIGGER.--The instrument is either made of iron or steel, and is about
six or seven inches in length, fixed into a turned wooden handle. It
is used for collecting the pupae of Lepidopterous Insects, at the
roots and in the clefts of the bark of trees; and also for pulling off
the bark, particularly from decayed trees, under which many curious
and rare insects are frequently found. It is most useful with an
arrow-headed point.

SETTING NEEDLES.--Fitted into a small wooden handle, the needle itself
should be about three inches long, and about the thickness of a small
darning-needle slightly bent from about the middle. A straight needle
is used for extending the parts of insects; at one end of the handle is
the needle, and at the other a camel's hair pencil, which is used for
removing any dirt or dust which may be on the insects. The pencil may
be occasionally drawn through the lips, brought to a fine point, and
used for disposing the antennæ and palpi of insects of the minute kinds.

SETTING-BOARDS.--These must be made of deal board, from a foot or
fifteen inches long, and eight or ten inches broad, with a piece of
wood run across the ends, to prevent them from warping. They are
covered with cork, which must be perfectly smooth on the surface, with
white paper pasted over it. Several boards will be required, by persons
who are making collections, as some of the insects take a considerable
time to dry, so that they may be fit for introducing into a cabinet.

The boards should be kept in a frame made for the purpose. It should
consist of a top, bottom, and two sides; the back and front should
have the frames of doors attached by small hinges, and their centers
covered with fine gauze, for the free passage of air; the sides should
have small pieces of wood projecting from them, for the boards to rest
on; which should be at such a distance from each other that the pins
may not be displaced in pushing the boards in or drawing them out. The
frame should be placed in a dry, airy situation.

BRACES.--These are merely small pieces of card, cut in different forms,
attached to the butterfly and other insects. They are pinned down on
the insects, to keep their wings, etc., in a proper state, till they
acquire a set.


The eggs of insects preserve their form and color in a cabinet, in
general, without much trouble. Swammerdam had a method of preserving
them when they appeared to be giving way. He made a perforation within
them with a fine needle, pressed out their contents, afterwards
inflated them with a glass blow-pipe, and filled them with a mixture of
resin and oil of spike.


The easiest way of destroying the Caterpillar is by immersion in spirit
of wine. They may be retained for a long time in this spirits without
destroying their color.

Mr. William Weatherhead had an ingenious mode of preserving Larvæ. He
killed the Caterpillar, as above directed, and having made a small
puncture in the tail, gently pressed out the contents of the abdomen,
and then filled the skin with fine dry sand, and brought the animal to
its natural circumference. It is then exposed to the air to dry, and it
will have become quite hard in the course of a few hours, after which
the sand may be shaken out at the small aperture and the Caterpillar
then gummed to a piece of card.

Another method is, after the entrails are squeezed out, to insert into
the aperture a glass tube which has been drawn to a very fine point.
The operator must blow through this pipe while he keeps turning the
skin slowly round over a charcoal fire; the skin soon becomes hardened,
and, after being anointed with oil of spike and resin, it may be placed
in a cabinet when dry. A small straw or pipe of grass may be substituted
for the glass pipe.

Some persons inject them with colored wax after they are dried.


When the insects have escaped from their Pupa skin, the skin usually
retains the shape and general appearance it did while it contained the
insect. It is therefore ready for a cabinet, without any preparation
whatever. But if the animal has not quitted its envelope, it will be
necessary either to drop the Pupa into warm water, or to heat it in a
tin case before the fire; the former mode, however, is the best, and
least liable to change the colors of the Pupa.


BREEDING CAGES.--These must be made of oak, or other hard wood, as pine
is apt to kill the Caterpillars, from its smell of turpentine. The most
convenient size for a breeding cage is eight inches in breadth, four
deep, and one foot in height. It is not proper to place within a cage
more than one species of Caterpillar, as many of them prey upon each
other. Indeed, animals of the same species will devour each other, if
left without food. The Caterpillars of insects, for the most part, will
only eat one particular kind of food, so that it is better to have no
more than one sort in a cage.

There must be at the bottom of the cage earth to the depth of two
inches; this should be mixed with some fine sand and vegetable earth,
if possible, to prevent it from drying. The cages should be kept in a
cool cellar or damp place, because many insects change into the Pupa
condition under the earth; so that it would require to be somewhat
moist, to prevent the destruction of the animal. The shell or case of
the Pupa also becomes hard, if the earth is not kept moist; and, in
that event, the animal will not have sufficient strength to break its
case at the time it ought to emerge from its confinement, and must
consequently die, which but too frequently happens from mismanagement.

Some seasons are more favorable than others for the production of
Caterpillars, and to keep each kind by themselves would require an
immense number of cages, as well as occupy much time in changing the
food, and paying due attention to them. To obviate this, some persons
having large breeding cages, with a variety of food in them, which
must be cleaned out every two days, and fresh leaves given to the
Caterpillars; as, on due attention to feeding, the beauty and vigor of
the coming insects will much depend.

The Larvæ of insects, which feed beneath the surface of the earth,
may be bred in the following manner: Let any box that is about three
or four feet square, and two or three feet deep, be lined internally
with tin, and a number of very minute holes be bored through the sides
and bottom. Put into this box a quantity of earth, replete with such
vegetables as the Caterpillars subsist on, and sink it into a bed of
earth, so that the surface may be exposed to the different changes of
the weather. The lid should be covered with brass or iron net-work, to
prevent their escape, and for the free admission of air.

The young Entomologist should obtain a cabinet of about thirty drawers,
arranged in two tiers, and covered in with folding doors. There is
a great convenience in this size, as the cabinet is rendered more
portable, and at the same time admits of having another of the same
size, being placed above the top of it, as the collection increases,
without injuring the uniformity, and thus the drawers may be augmented
to any extent. It is immaterial whether the cabinet is made of mahogany
or oak; sometimes they are constructed of cedar, but seldom of pine,
or any other soft wood. Small cells must be made in the inside of the
fronts for camphor.

CORKING OF DRAWERS.--The simplest way to get the cork is to purchase
it of a cork-cutter, ready prepared, but it will be much cheaper for
the Entomologist to prepare it himself. In this case, it should be cut
into strips of about three inches wide, with a cork-cutter's knife,
to smooth the surface and to divide it. The strips should be fixed in
a vise, and cut to the thickness required with a fine saw; but grease
must not be used in the operation, as it will not only prevent the cork
from adhering to the bottom of the drawer, but will also grease the
paper which should be pasted on its surface. The black surface of the
cork should be rasped down to a smooth surface. After having reduced
the slips to about three quarters of an inch in thickness, the darkest,
or worst side of the slip should be glued down to a sheet of brown,
or cartridge paper; this should be laid on a deal board, about three
feet in length, and the width required for a drawer or box; a few fine
nails, or brads, must be driven through each piece of cork to keep it
firm and in its place until the glue be dried; by this means, sheets
of cork may be formed the size of the drawer. All the irregularities
are filed or rasped down quite to a level surface, and then polished
smooth with pumice-stone. The sheet, thus formed and finished, is glued
into the drawers. To prevent its warping, some weights must be equally
distributed over the cork, that it may adhere firmly to the bottom
of the drawer. When quite dry, the weights are removed, and the cork
covered with fine white paper, but not very thick. The paper is allowed
to be quite damp with the paste before it is placed on the cork, and,
when dry, it will become perfectly tight.

Insect cabinets should be kept in a very dry situation, otherwise the
antennæ, legs, etc., will become quite moldy. The same evil will ensue
if the insect is not perfectly dry before it is placed in the cabinet.
Should an insect be covered with mold, it can be washed off with a
camel's-hair pencil, dipped in camphorated spirits of wine; in which
case the insect must be dried in a warm airy situation before being
placed in the cabinet.

There should always be plenty of camphor kept in the drawers, otherwise
there is great danger to be apprehended from mites; where these exist,
they are easily discovered by the dust which is under the insects by
which they are infested. In which case they must be immediately taken
out and rubbed clean with a fine camel's-hair pencil, and well imbued
with the solution of corrosive sublimate, and then placed near a fire,
taking care, however, that too great a heat is not applied, as it will
utterly destroy the specimen. The Butterfly, Sphinx, and Moth tribes
are extremely liable to the attack of mites, and should, therefore, be
frequently examined.





_Mr. Waterton's Method._

Put a good large tea-spoonful of well-pounded corrosive sublimate into
a wine bottle full of alcohol (spirits of wine). Let it stand over
night, and, the next morning, draw it off into a clean bottle. When
the solution is applied to black substance, and little white particles
are perceived on them, it will be necessary to make it weaker, by the
addition of some alcohol.

A black feather, dipped in the solution, and then dried, will be a good
test of the state of the solution: if it be too strong, it will leave a
whiteness upon the feather.


_Invented by Becoeur, Apothecary, Metz._

    Arsenic in powder,      2 pounds.
    Camphor,                5 ounces.
    White Soap,             2 pounds.
    Salt of Tartar,        12 ounces.
    Powdered Lime,          4 ounces.

The soap must be cut in small and very thin slices, put into a crucible
with a small quantity of water, held over a gentle fire, and frequently
stirred with a wooden spatula, or a piece of wood of any kind. When it
is properly melted, the powdered lime and salt of tartar must then be
added, and thoroughly mixed. It must now be taken off the fire, the
arsenic added gently, and stirred. The camphor must be reduced into
a powder, by beating it in a mortar, with the addition of a little
spirits of wine. The camphor must then be added, and the composition
well mixed with a spatula, while off the fire.

It may be again placed on the fire, to assist in making the ingredients
incorporate properly, but not much heated, as the camphor will very
rapidly escape. It may now be poured into glazed earthen pots, and
allowed to cool, after which a piece of paper should be placed over the
top, and afterwards some sheep leather, and then set aside for use. The
composition is about the thickness of ordinary flour paste.

When it is necessary to use the soap, put as much as will answer the
purpose into a preserve pot, and add to it about an equal proportion of
water. This is applied to the skin or feathers with a bristle brush.

N. B. It should be kept as close as possible, and used with caution, as
it is a deadly poison.

The above is the receipt made use of at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris.

_Mr. Laurent's Receipt._

A distinguished French naturalist, Laurent, recommends the following
composition, after ten years experience, for preserving the skins of
stuffed animals. He observes, at the same time, that it penetrates
them with greater readiness, and preserves them much better than any
preparation which has hitherto been in use.

    Arseniate of Potash,             2 drachms.
    Sulphate of Alumine,             2    do.
    Powdered Camphor,                2    do.
    White Soap, powdered,            1-2 oz.
    Spirits of Wine,                 6 oz.
    Essence of Thyme,                3 drops.

The arseniate of potash, sulphate of alumine, and soap, are to be
placed in a vial, with a large mouth, and the spirits of wine to be
poured on them, at a heat of _twenty five_ degrees, and they will be
perfectly combined in twenty-four hours. The essence of thyme is then
added, when the vial must be carefully corked. This composition is to
be shaken together, before it is made use of, and it must be spread
over the skin of the animal or bird with a brush.


Two ounces of pearl-ash to one gallon of water.


Take common iron wire, make it red-hot, and suffer it to cool
gradually; this renders it soft and pliable, so that it may be easily
bent in any direction.


    Fine Whitening,                  2 oz.
    Gum-Arabic,                      2 oz.
    Finest Flour,                  1-2 oz.
    Ox-Gall, a tea-spoonful.

The whole to be dissolved, and mixed well with water into thick paste.

This is well adapted for attaching different objects, and especially
for fixing shells to pasteboard, etc.


    White Sugar Candy,      2 oz.
    Common Gum-Arabic,      4 oz.

Let these be melted in a pot of hot water, and then strained through
a linen or horse-hair sieve. When properly dissolved, add to it two
table-spoonfuls of starch, or hair-powder, and mix the whole well
together. This paste may be used for many purposes, and it never
spoils. It may be dried, and by pouring a little warm water on it,
it will soon be ready for use. If it is wished to be all melted, and
hurriedly, the pot containing it should be placed in warm water or sand.


Make flour paste in the ordinary way, and add to it a small portion of
the solution of corrosive sublimate, or powdered corrosive sublimate.
This will prevent the attack of mites, to which paste is very liable
when dried. This paste may be dried into a cake, and moistened when


The solution of gum-arabic is made by simply adding water to it. When
used as a varnish, or for attaching objects, it is extremely apt to get
too brittle in very warm weather, and to crack or split off in scales;
to prevent this, a quarter of an ounce of white or brown sugar candy
must be added to two ounces of gum-arabic.


Take a coffee-pot, filled with water, and add to it a quantity of
paper, which has been slightly sized, like that used for printing
engravings. Let it boil for three hours, and when the water has
evaporated, boil it again for a similar length of time. Take out
the paper, and squeeze it well in a colander, and then pound it in
a mortar, until it is reduced to a very fine paste. It must then be
dried. When it is required for use, add to it some of the solution of
gum-arabic; and keep it in a pot for use.


The paper made as above directed, when well dried, is pounded in a
mortar till it becomes a very fine powder; it is then put into a tin
pepper-box, and when any of the parts of Parrots' bills, etc., are
wished to have this powdered appearance, a little of the solution of
gum-arabic is washed over the part with a camel's-hair pencil, and the
powder dusted on it and allowed to dry.


Take a stick of red sealing-wax, beat it down with a hammer, and then
put it into a vial, with an ounce of strong spirit of wine, which will
dissolve it within four or five hours. It may be applied to any part
with a camel's-hair pencil, and it will dry in less than five minutes.

Black, yellow, and green, or indeed any color of varnish, may be made
from sealing-wax of these various colors.

To those unacquainted with the combination of colors we may mention
that a mixture of blue and yellow produces green; pink and blue makes
purple; red and yellow, orange; black, red, and yellow, brown; black
and blue, gray. These may be varied, in an infinity of shades, by
either color predominating, and by the addition of other colors.


    Common Resin.
    Red Ochre reduced into a fine powder.
    Yellow Wax.
    Oil of Turpentine.

These must be melted over a fire in the following manner: and the
vessel in which it is made should be capable of holding three times the
quantity required, to allow room for boiling up. An earthenware pipkin
with a handle is the best thing for the purpose, and a lid must be made
of tin to fit it. The luting will be rendered more or less brittle, or
elastic, as the red ochre prevails:

The wax is first melted, and then the resin; the ochre is then added in
small quantities, and stirred quickly with a spatula each time. When
all the ochre has been added, it must be allowed to boil six or eight
minutes; the turpentine is then added, and briskly stirred with the
spatula, and continue to boil it. There is considerable risk of the
mixture taking fire, and should it do so, the lid must immediately be
put on the vessel to extinguish it.

To ascertain the consistence of the luting, a little must be, from
time to time, dropped on a cool plate, or flat piece of iron. If it
is too soft, more of the ochre must be added to it; and if too hard,
additional wax and turpentine.


These are fillets of prepared tow and flax, of from one to three inches
in breadth. They are extremely uniform in their thickness, being made
to weight, and can easily be procured from any flax-spinning mill, at a
moderate price per pound weight.


Much of the character and expression of animals depends upon their
eyes; it will, therefore, be evident that great attention is necessary
in the artificial imitation of these.

In this operation, a pipe of baked earth is used, or a tube of glass
six or seven inches in length, at the end of which a little white
enamel is placed. This is placed to the flame, so that it may be
blown. This enamel forms a globe, whose dimensions depend upon the
quantity of air introduced. When this globe is of the size wished, we
place in the middle, and perpendicularly to the point of the pipe, the
quantity of enamel necessary to form the enamel. The second enamel is
then incorporated with the first by presenting it to the flame, while
attention is paid to turn the pipe gradually round, so that the enamel
may diffuse itself equally, and the iris be exactly circular. If it is
required that this iris should be of various colors, like that of man
for example, small filaments of enamel are distributed in diverging
rays of the suitable color; the eye is then placed in the flame, until
these have incorporated with the iris, after which the pupil is placed
as before directed, and the glass applied as before directed.

During this operation, the globe is almost certain of sinking down,
partly from the air escaping, partly from the heat, and from the
pressure which is used in applying the different substances; air must
again be supplied from time to time to prevent it from losing its form.
This becomes particularly necessary when glass is applied, and when it
is extended over the whole surface of the iris.

The eye having got its form and size, the pipe is taken away. To effect
this, after the air has been introduced, the entrance of the pipe
is stopped with the finger, and the back part of the eye exposed to
the flame; when the air contained in the globe, and rarified by the
pipe, comes through at the place where the flame has most action. This
opening is prolonged by turning the point of the flat pincers, or an
iron-wire, all round the pipe; one point only is left by which the eye
remains fixed. It is then warmed equally all over, after which it is
exposed to a gentle heat, and when it again cools, it is separated from
the pipe.


  1. A box containing scalpels of different shapes; a pair of scissors
     with pointed blades, and two or three pointed forceps of different
     sizes, the extremities of one of which ought to be indented.

  2. Two flat pincers, or pliers, large and small.

  3. A round pincer for turning wire.

  4. A cutting pincer for wire.

  5. A hammer.

  6. Two files.

  7. A triangular.

  8. Points for perforating holes.

  9. A saddler's awl for drilling holes; also various shoemaker's awls,
     which will be found useful.

 10. Brushes of different sizes for putting the preservative on the
     animals' and birds' skins, and for smoothing and dusting the

 11. An assortment of iron-wire of all sizes.

 12. Flax and tow, coarse cotton. When these cannot be had, untwisted
     ropes or cords. A quantity of tow and flax slivers for twisting
     round the leg-bones of small quadrupeds and birds.

 13. Some small hardwood meshes for assisting in stuffing.


The best means of procuring living animals is by applying to the
natives of the different countries, who are accustomed to their habits,
and the situation in which they are likely to be found, and to take
them in traps and snares. They are also more likely to be able to find
their retreats, so that they may take these animals in a young state,
and also birds in their nests.

By thus securing animals while young, they are much more likely to
reach home in a living state. Every exertion should be used to render
them familiar, when, being habituated to the appearance of man, they
will be more able to resist the effects of a tedious sea-voyage than
those which have been taken when wild, and are under a continued degree
of excitement. Every care should be taken to soothe and caress them;
and there is no animal whose manners cannot be softened by gentle
treatment. During fine weather, they should be allowed to take exercise
on the deck, as nothing is so injurious to their health and growth as
being long pent up in a small cage. While thus confined, it will be
obvious that they require a much smaller portion of food then when they
can have sufficient room to exercise themselves. Many of these animals
are lost from overfeeding. Their diet should be given with great
regularity, but always in such quantity as they can easily digest.

Next to food, cleanliness is of the utmost importance, and if this
requires too much of the attention of those who are bringing them
home, it will be easy to procure the assistance of some of the crew.
And unless this is strictly attended to, there is little chance of
preserving their health.

When animals' skins are imported, it is also necessary to bring the
head and feet. Those of the mammalia, which can be put into a barrel or
bottle, should be preserved entire in spirits.

In the event of not being able to transport the carcass the next best
thing is to bring the skeleton along with the skin. It will not be
necessary to mount these. All that is required is to boil the bones,
take off the flesh, and dry them. Afterwards all the bones belonging
to the same skeleton should be put in a bag by themselves, taking
care to fill up the bag with dried moss, or any other substance which
will prevent friction. The more effectually to secure this, the small
and tender bones ought to be wrapped in paper. It is of the utmost
consequence that not a bone should be lost.

In shooting birds, it is of much importance not to use the shot too
large; indeed, it ought to be proportioned, as nearly as possible, to
the size of the bird to be shot at. When the bird is killed, the blood
must be carefully wiped away, and a little cotton must be put into the
bill to prevent the blood flowing from it to injure the feathers. The
wound should also be stuffed with cotton.

Birds should be skinned as soon as possible, as the feathers are apt to
fall off if kept too long. The os coccygis must be kept attached to the
skin. If several individuals of the same species be killed, one should,
if possible, be preserved entire in spirits, with the whole muscles of
the body. If the bird has a fleshy crest, it ought to be preserved in

It is of the utmost consequence to procure the male, female and young,
and these at different ages, besides, as many species are subject to
great variety, in their progress from the young to the adult state.
This is more particularly the case with Eagles and Hawks, many of which
have been described as different species in their immature state. The
eggs and nest should also be procured.

REPTILES.--The chief thing to be attended to in skinning reptiles is
not to injure the scales; and in the lizard kind care must be taken not
to break the tail. But for all the smaller and middle-sized species
the best mode is to preserve them in spirits; and of the larger kinds,
which are skinned, the skeletons ought to be kept. The flesh should be
taken away with knives and scalpels as well as possible, and the bones
thoroughly dried and packed in a box with cotton or grass, and they can
be articulated after they are brought home. When the skeletons are too
large they may be separated into convenient parts for packing.


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    Transcriber's notes:

    In the original, there are two CHAPTER V's. The last two chapters
    have been renumbered to correct this.

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    the brains taken out by enlarging the occiptal opening
    the brains taken out by enlarging the occipital opening

    annointed, and the body stuffing completed with chopped flax.
    anointed, and the body stuffing completed with chopped flax.

    The fore-eg wires are fixed in the same manner,
    The fore-leg wires are fixed in the same manner,

    drawn through the rump, and and passed up to the inside of the neck,
    drawn through the rump, and passed up to the inside of the neck,

    and drawn through bill, to prevent the head from stretching
    and drawn through the bill, to prevent the head from stretching

    but after a few trials this will be unneccessary.
    but after a few trials this will be unnecessary.

    while the thread is pulled on the opposide side;
    while the thread is pulled on the opposite side;

    It may be that a bird essentially aerial, like the wift,
    It may be that a bird essentially aerial, like the swift,

    not the character of any part of the skin, or earuncle of the
    not the character of any part of the skin, or caruncle of the

    These must be imitated with gum arabic and powdered starch,
    These must be imitated with gum-arabic and powdered starch,

    A small packet of camphor should be rapped in a piece of rag,
    A small packet of camphor should be wrapped in a piece of rag,

    most convenient size for a breeding cage is eight inches in breath,
    most convenient size for a breeding cage is eight inches in breadth,

    A small straw or pipe of gras may be substituted for the glass pipe.
    A small straw or pipe of grass may be substituted for the glass pipe.

    this should be mixed with some find sand and vegetable earth,
    this should be mixed with some fine sand and vegetable earth,

    8. Point's for perforating holes.
    8. Points for perforating holes.

    also various shoemakers awls, which will be found useful.
    also various shoemaker's awls, which will be found useful.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to Stuff Birds and Animals - A valuable book giving instruction in collecting, preparing, - mounting, and preserving birds, animals, and insects" ***

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