Unless you have a live bird that will stand still while you measure it as if to fit it with a tailored suit,

you must use the most reliable pattern books you can find. Pat Godin is the most authoritative source on the

anatomy of a wide range of waterfowl. Overall I have found Pat Godin’s three pattern books to be very close to

anatomically correct. Unfortunately these books are out of print yet can be found on the internet.

With a early interest in zoology and wildlife biology, I have plucked a few ducks, dissected several

birds to study their anatomy, made study boards of all their feather groups, measured the relationships

of each feather to each other and have an extensive library of books, videos, photos and

drawings. I use taxidermy mounts in a limited fashion for anatomy and color. I assist the

taxidermist, when they will allow, with the pose I want and what I know to be correct positions. I

use mounts mainly for color and carefully for measuring with the awareness that most taxidermy

mounts shrink in some directions. You should also find sources where you can get measurements

from skins and to observe living species in aviaries. Find out where to go in your area to observe skins

in museum skin rooms, ducks in the wild. Try to observe and photograph them during the winter months when they

are in full plumage. Gathering information and studying your subject is critical to this art form. Collect

and file photographs from anywhere you can find them. Be careful not to violate copyright laws when using private

domain photos. I took this one at Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck, NC

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