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Preserving a Wing
Peyote eagle feather fan
collected from Wi·tapanoxwe. Photo courtesy of
the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number 70-9-480.
I was wondering if anyone here has
any knowledge or experience about how to go about preserving
a bird's wing. I found one the other day and I'm not sure of
the methods to preserve it and wanted to know if anyone here
could help me. I've read the threads in the Main Reference Library,
and I'm looking for more information. I appreciate any assistance
you can give me.
had several wings, but we lived in a very dry part of Africa
so she just let them dry out. Not sure now how healthy that
was, but we played with them (grandkids). Have you tried looking
on taxidermy websites?
need a good box, wooden if possible(they used a leather housing
in the old ways of my family)...lay a fire of wood chips or
small pieces and let it burn down to coals, place cedar boughs
on top so it smokes ALOT...place your wing suspended "in
the box" so it will not touch the heat, then place your
box over the smoke. You will have to replenish the cedar several
times it takes time to smoke and dry the wing. Or if you want
to do it the quick way the small smokers one uses for meat will
work as well. I like the old ways myself.
I love your story, WhiteCrow.
I can see it! Sage, can you tell me more about the reason for
smoking the wing? I assume it will dry out the wing, anything
else? About how long does it take?
would assume the smoking would also get rid of parasites.
Singing wrote: Sage, can you tell me more about the reason
for smoking the wing? I assume it will dry out the wing, anything
else? About how long does it take?
the wing does 2 things...it dries and cures the flesh so it
will keep and stay together, it also kills any bacteria or parasites
within it. It takes much time and patience but the end result
is a good wing for smudging and ceremony and by using cedar
(or sage or mesquite) you honor the one who left it for you
and accept the responsibility of the wing and what it represents.
Not knowing where you live in this wide world it is difficult
to say what wood/branch you will find. PM if you wish it.
gifted a hawk, he had been hit by a car a few years ago and
lay still alive, my heart hurt for him. He spoke as I held him
soothing his pain so he could fly into the next world in peace
and with grace. He allowed me his tail feathers and wings but
at his death I could not "take" his wings so left
them for him to use in the next world, I did take his tail feathers
and have many of them yet. I smoked them with the cedar.
when your wing has been smoked and purified, you should hang
it in the sun and moon for a full moons cycle where it
will be safe and dry, then appropriately, it would be ready
for the 10th/next moon.
a plastic tub at Walmart or some place, 5 pound box of Borax
soap. Lay the wing in the box and pour the dry soap over it.
cover and let sit for 30 to 90 days. Kills all infestations
and dry's the wing so it can be worked with if youre making
a fan. Its what we use on everything that needs drying/preserving.
Hi Jimmy! Good to see you!
That's a simple solution and I can see how that would work well.
The wing could then be dedicated through a ceremony of one's
own design or by a traditional rite.
Jimmy, this is wonderful.
Thank you so much. The wings I found are pretty stiff. I've
put them in the freezer for the time being, not sure what else
to do with them and I didn't want any further deterioration
happening to them. Will the Borax affect the texture of the
wings? And, is the idea to completely cover the wings in Borax?
May I ask how you work a wing into a fan?
would work but I do hate chemicals.
it in a mixture of salt and loose natural tobacco. Leave until
done. Also kills parasites, dries it and honors it. You can
use a ziplock bag.
will help clean it and after it comes out of the Borax, brush
it with a soft tooth brush, It will look great!
The processes, I see, are
simple. I want to try them out with my dead goose wings. I want
to preserve it too since they're still fine. Thanks for the
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