Decoys operate under the same principles as the old proverb “Birds of a feather flock together,” by luring unsuspecting wildfowl into shooting range. Using artificial birds as bait has a long history in North America, dating back to early Native Americans of the Southwest, who used thatched reed effigies and stuffed bird skins to hunt. Over time European settlers established a carving tradition of perfectly chiseled bodies and realistically painted plumage. By the mid-19th century increased consumer demand for wildfowl meat and feathers led to unregulated market gunning, hunting many species to the brink of extinction. In 1918 the United States Congress enacted The Migratory Bird Act to protect America’s endangered wildfowl, regulating the species and number of birds that could be hunted, effectively bringing the golden era of decoys to an

Read More: Shelburne Museum features treasures from its decoy collection