How to Preserve a Dead Bird? – A Step-by-Step Guide

Clinton-Atkins-thayer

Written by

Clinton Atkins

George-Dukes-thayer

FACT-CHECKED BY

George Dukes

how to preserve a dead bird

There are several reasons people learn how to preserve a dead bird. It is often because they can’t bear to part with theirs or want to keep a dead bird to study.

Whatever the reason for preserving a bird is, it is crucial to do it right the first time. There is no room for trial and error here because, most times, you only have one specimen and one chance to do it.

This article will discuss some of the best ways to preserve a bird and why people do it. Read on.

How to Preserve a Dead Bird

store-feathers

It is hard to witness the death of a bird, even more so to decide what to do next. Fortunately, you have the option to preserve the bird and keep them in shape close to how they were before.

Is it hard to preserve birds? The answer is no. Luckily, it is easy to do the preservation process on your own. In addition, you can find most of the items and tools you need around your home.

Here are two ways you can proceed with bird preservation.

Bird Preservation With Borax

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Things To Prepare:

  • Latex gloves
  • Goggles
  • Garbage bag
  • Shoebox
  • Paintbrush
  • Borax

preserve-dead-bird-wings

Step 1: Wear your safety gear and prep the bird

Slip on your gloves and goggles. Collect the bird and remove any debris or dirt from it.

Step 2: Coat the bird inside the bag with borax

Coat the inside of the garbage bag with a bit of Borax. Put the bird in and sprinkle enough Borax to coat the bird. Adjust the amount according to the size of the bird.

Step 3: Place the bird in the shoebox and rub more borax

Transfer the bird to the shoebox. Check for any part without Borax and rub them with the powder.

Step 4: Let it dry and dust the Borax off the bird

Once the bird is thoroughly covered in borax, leave it to dry for a month. After four weeks, use a paintbrush to remove the powder. It is then ready for display.

Bird Preservation With Salt and Bleach

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Things To Prepare:

  • Latex gloves
  • Mask
  • Plastic container large enough to hold the bird
  • Water
  • Rock salt
  • Bleach
  • Sandpaper

preserve-feathers-from-a-dead-bird

Step 1: Suit up for safety and clean the bird

Wear your mask and gloves before removing the dirt from the bird. Carefully sand its feet and legs.

Step 2: Create a water and bleach mixture for the bird

Change your gloves. Mix a part of bleach with two parts of water. Place the bird in the container and add the mixture, making sure that it covers the whole bird.

Step 3: Let it soak, then add the salt mixture

Leave the bird with the mixture for a whole day. Once finished, remove the bird and clean the container. Concoct another mixture with half a gallon of water and 2 cups of salt. Return the bird to the container and add the liquid to preserve it.

Step 4: Soak again before air drying

Let the bird soak again for another 24 hours. Next, remove the bird and air dry. Make sure it dries thoroughly before displaying it.

FAQs

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The Benefits Of Preserving Dead Bird

Why do people preserve dead birds? It is because one wants to save a dead bird of paradise they found and keep their beauty for a long time. Pet owners also preserve their beloved birds to remember them.

Preserving birds can be traced back several centuries ago. In the days of Charles Darwin, preservation was done to keep the specimen in a state where the following generations could admire and study them. This way, people can get to know rare and endangered avians.

Other Types Of Bird Preservation Methods And How To Choose One

We shared with you two bird preservation methods: using borax and using salt. Aside from these, there are other ways to preserve a dead bird for display. You can try:

  • Taxidermy
  • Freeze a dead bird
  • Skin the bird
  • Embalming
  • Mummify a bird

Deciding which one works best for you will depend on several factors. Getting rid of the bird’s internal organ and stuffing its body with cotton balls or straw, a method called taxidermy, is the perfect technique for lifelike results.

On the other hand, the freeze-drying methods are what most pet owners go for because of their realistic outcomes. However, freezing a dead bird requires patience, as it is a long process that takes approximately seven months.

To those who cannot afford the waiting, skinning the bird is faster as it takes only a few days. The only downside is, you cannot preserve dead bird bones or the whole bird, but only its skin or hide.

Another procedure used for taxidermy is embalming. This is a widely used approach to preserving the bird and is one of the top choices alongside taxidermy and freeze-drying. Embalming takes less time, but it demands focus and attention.

Egyptians used this last method and worked perfectly in preserving your bird. It can keep a bird in excellent condition even after decades or even a hundred years.

The Cost To Preserve Dead Bird

If you want to reach out to a professional taxidermist to preserve your pet bird, the service will cost you $500 to $2,000.

The number varies depending on the size of the bird, if you want fast service, and other factors. For a small bird, you can expect to spend $500 as a starting point. It is always best to ask for the pricing before anything else.

How to preserve feathers from a dead bird?

You can preserve dead bird wings in four steps!

  • Step 1: Sterilize the feathers

Disinfect a bird feather by dousing it in isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. This will kill the mites, viruses, and bacteria.

  • Step 2: Wash the feathers

Use warm and soapy water to get rid of all the dirt and debris. Swish the feathers until they fall off. Then, rinse in warm, running water.

  • Step 3: Dry the feathers

Place the feathers on a baking sheet. Let it air dry under the sun. For faster drying, you can use a hair dryer. Fluff up matted feathers as you go.

  • Step 4: Store feathers in a jar

Add 5 to 10 drops of citronella oil to a cloth. Place it inside the container where you’ll store the feathers. This will make the feathers resistant to mold and bugs.

Do not expose your feathers to sunlight after placing them in a jar. Look for a cool, dry, and dark place to preserve the pigment of the feathers.

How to preserve bird feet?

If you want to preserve turkey feet, follow Borax’s bird preservation tutorial. Other methods you can try are:

  • Soak in salt water solution or glycerin and water solution
  • Freezing
  • Drying
  • Stuffing

Remove feathers from a dead bird before proceeding with preserving its feet.

Conclusion

We hope that with this article; you learned how to preserve a dead bird and understand its importance. Now, you have an option other than burying a dead bird.

Whether you want to preserve a dead songbird or your favorite pet, come back to this and refer to it as your guide. If you know someone interested in learning how to preserve a deceased bird, share this with them.

Have you done bird preservation before? How was your experience? How did it turn out? We want to hear about it, so comment below for us to read!


It’s common to come across a dead bird on the ground, but have you ever wondered what it could mean? please take a look at this article and see now 7 steps to dispose of a dead bird.

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