Hamble Campbell's Home Page

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Duck decoys

On my bookshelf, where my books used to be before I gave nearly all of them to Oxfam, is a wooden pigeon. Very beautiful I think but not so easy to read.

I think it's made from the wood of a pear tree, all from one piece, carved nicely and smoothly, including a very realistic beak and a tail that any bird would be proud of. Then he's been painted to look authentically pigeon-like (grey).

Obviously not a duck decoy. These were (apparently) once rudimentary duck forms (maybe even just a brick dressed up) which would lure the real ducks down from the skies to be shot and sold for dinner. When this trade dried up the duck hunters took to producing ornamental duck decoys and then ornamental any-old bird that looked pretty ornamental decoys. Some even have the individual feather patterns burnt on to enhance their life-likeness. This craft began in America, but my decoy was made by someone in our village. Wading birds seem to be most popular, maybe because of their long legs, which are usually represented by a stick. My pigeon has two nice straight legs. I think he is unusual because he's not a water fowl so unlike most decoys.

He looks mighty fine on my white shelf with a white wall background.



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