AN award-winning taxidermist from North Yorkshire is bringing a long-lost bird back from extinction – at least in model form.

The creations of Carl Church will be the centre of the Great Dodo Exhibition at Kendal Museum from July 4, marking the culmination of a long relationship between the artist, who launched his career about 20 years ago, and the venue.

Mr Church, from Pickering, said: “The exhibition snowballed out of control really. I made my first dodo, which Kendal Museum bought from a private collector, and it started there.

“I really enjoy doing the research, and all the different theories on what they looked like. I built another for television’s The Big Ask, which went to private sale, but I couldn’t find anyone who had made a dodo chick, so decided to make a nest scene.”

Mr Church said the problem with creating a dodo was that it was difficult to find two matching accounts of what the extinct bird looked like, so some artistic licence is usually needed.

He said: “There aren’t many people in the UK making dodos. There are a few around the world, but not many in this country.

“There are so many theories about what they looked like, stories about them, and someone has to create something based on them.

“The expression always comes up, dead as a dodo, and I couldn’t find anything other than sketches.

“So I went to town again and produced a dead, hung dodo as if you’d gone out and shot one in Mauritius and tidied it up.” Mr Church has already written one book on taxidermy, and is currently writing another on how to create a dodo.

Both are available on his website, He said: “Taxidermy is a very strange thing, because you either like it or you don’t.

“A lot of people go ‘ugh, dead animals’, but it’s just the medium I work with. Animals are not killed for me to do this.

“Creating a dodo is more acceptable, but if I was to do an exhibition with eagles and owls, it might be different.”

Mr Church also said the exhibition would help raise funds for the museum and the Mauritius Foundation, but he did not expect to make much through sales.

He said: “I’m not going to sell lots of dodos because the average person isn’t going to buy one to put on his television, because they’re about the size of a Labrador.”