Mariton: New Owl Mount
by Tim Buris, Preserve Manager
Scott Shoeniger, of Hunter’s Moon Taxidermy, just finished mounting a Great-horned Owl for Mariton. It is amazing. This is an owl that died of natural causes in a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor contacted me knowing that a special permit was required to have an owl mounted (and that Mariton holds a permit). When we looked at it, we figured it may have died of starvation and old age. Scott noticed the pads on the feet were extremely calloused, indicating an older bird. It was actually replacing feathers (in January). One of the talons was broken and it was emaciated. It was also a large bird, so he thinks it was female.
I had asked Scott for a creative but natural pose. Since taxidermists are artists (and I am not), I prefer to trust their instincts. Scott told me that he was having trouble getting it right. Then he pulled out the log that it is mounted on. He had been saving the log for several years, knowing that someday the right animal would come in to match it. Once he had the log, he said things just started coming together. That is an understatement. The mount is spectacular. It shows off the owl’s natural camouflage from all angles.
It is great to listen to Scott’s excitement about his work. So… in the fall we will hold a Meet the Artist reception with Scott. We haven’t picked dates yet, but it will come out in the Fall Events Calendar. You can view the owl in the meantime at the Nature Center.