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With Stuffing: 1916

With Stuffing: 1916

1916. "N.R. Wood of Smithsonian Institution, mounting birds." Who can identify the big fella? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Sin duda es un quebrantahuesos

Es un quebrantahuesos -- Gypaetus barbatus

Care and feeding of birds

When Mr. Wood offered some birdseed to the pigeon he is working on, it replied "I couldn't have another bite... I'm stuffed!"

Serious Taxidermist

Sometimes I think I'm the worst contrarian in the world, but let me say that a taxidermist, working at the skill level of Mr. Wood, is pretty darned serious. They were, and still are, able to provide a three-dimensional, full-color view of wildlife that few would be able to have had otherwise.

I also wonder about putting quotation marks around "friend" in mentioning Mr. Wood's bequest, but since the writer of that comment is one of Shorpy's MVPs, I'm not going to make a big thing about it.


I've always felt that taxidermists and morticians had a lot in common. However the taxidermist trade isn't as serious. I think my taxidermist/veterinarian joke has had enough exposure on Shorpy.

Quebranta huesos

Parece que en la jaula de atrás hay un pajarillo, debe estar bastante asustado...

Nelson Rush Wood

Nelson Rush Wood worked as a taxidermist at the Smithsonian for over 32 years. He died at age of 63 at his home, 2817 Quarry Rd NW, on November 8, 1920. The majority of his $10,000 estate went to his "friend" Holland W. Jenks.

Washington Post, Aug 11, 1903

A Skilled Taxidermist

The Smithsonian Institution is particularly fortunate in the choice of its bird taxidermist, Mr. Nelson R. Wood, who without doubt is one of the best and most skilled workmen in America. Persons who visit his laboratory are simply surprised at the manner in which he will oftentimes take a bird skin, looking all the world as it had been dragged and "yalloped" about in the dirt by some over-playful canine, and in a few days time convert it into a fine-looking bird.

One day recently the rats gained access to a Javanese peacock which Mr. Wood had just mounted for the St. Louis exposition, and nibbled the neck feathers in two, that they fell out. When Mr. Wood discovered this he reconstructed each feather with fish glue, returning each and all of them to their proper position in the bird's neck. Parrots, Macaws, hawks, cranes, woodpeckers, and pheasants are sent in to him by collectors with their feathers broken and disarranged, but knowing the exact position of each feather in every species, breed and variety of winged creature, Mr. Wood sets himself laboriously and conscientiously to work, first mending the feathers and then restoring them to their proper place.

Big bird

The contrast in the feathers makes me think osprey, or fishing hawk. A profile of the beak, and I would be all the more sure.

Let this be a lesson... the rest of you Lammergeiers out there. Lammy here obviously missed his target of Mr. Wood's bald pate, and see what it got him? Don't be pigeon or a turkey, if that rock you're aiming for is moving and wears glasses, forget about it.

Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue.

It's a Norwegian Blue - notice the beautiful plumage; I think he's pining for the fjords.

A bird of a different feather

I would suggest that it's a Philippine eagle, based on the feather patterns. I tried decoding the tag but it's apparently to some person at the national zoo.

Wouldn't hurt a fly

Reminds me of Norman Bates in "Psycho."

Mr. Wood

I'm not entirely sure he isn't stuffed and mounted, too.

Who can identify the big fella?

My money says he's N.R. Wood of the Smithsonian Institution. Do I win again, Dave?

[He's bearded, but is he a vulture? - Dave]

Bearded vulture

The large bird is a Lammergeier, or bearded vulture. This is the species of bird that allegedly killed the Greek playwright Aeschylus by dropping a tortoise on his bald head, having mistaken it for a rock. These birds employ aerial bombing to break open bones, tortoises, and anything else they think they can more easily dispatch by dropping from a great height.

"I've completed the formula!"

So I guess this proves that all those B-movie laboratories were based on reality.

Golden Eagle

It is definitely a raptor and certainly appears to be an eagle, so based on the apparent color my guess is Golden Eagle.

My vote

Bald Eagle

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