Ontario Decoys III

This project began about ten years ago as a photographic record of 30-40 decoys in my personal collection. It has developed into more than 800 (and growing) digital images of Ontario decoys with comments and observations, a useful research tool for like-minded collectors to compare, identify, and enjoy the birds.

From the beginning, the priority was to archive images of single decoys with brief notes identifying the bird species, the maker and the region where he lived or was most active. Sometimes, there are additional notes relevant to the image such as construction details, maker characteristics, etc.

The decoy is generally a work of ordinary men* in earlier days, made strictly as utilitarian hunting tools to provide food or to be sold to others for the same purpose. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, the decoy was also used to harvest feathers for a thriving feather industry.

By collecting decoys, we are recognizing, acknowledging, and paying tribute to the inherent skill of decoy makers. Most of these men would otherwise be unknown to us. Whenever it was possible, images of the makers have been included.

Today, some of these humble decoys are now accepted as sculptures, works of art in their own right, giving pleasure to people from all walks of life.

The intent of Ontario Decoys III is to foster additional research and to increase awareness and the concomitant pleasure derived from collecting decoys.

* “Hats off to that Almighty Force.” The Ordinary Man by Robert Service