Primitive Artistic Bird Decoy

This is an interesting old wood-carved bird decoy. I’m not sure if it was artwork or a functional decoy. It has sort of a cartoonish look to it, but on close inspection, has some well-executed artistic features. Some of the attachments indicate that perhaps it was functional. That’s about all I know about it. I can’t seem to find others that closely resemble it.

Here’s an interesting site I found listing many different types of old bird decoys for sale.

Here’s an article on the basic history of American bird decoys, from the Journal of Antiques & Collectibles:

The use of decoys to lure waterfowl to the hunter is purely an American invention. Decoys were tools made to lure wildfowl within range of Native Americans and their arrows and later with the waterfowling guns of the early settlers of our great nation. The taking of game of any kind in the Old World was the privilege of the wealthy land owners. Waterfowl hunting in Europe for the most part consisted of trapping and netting wild birds that were lured up narrow creeks or channels by a trained tolling dog that would walk back and forth near the edge of a narrow creek or channel. The pacing of the dog would mesmerize the wild ducks drawing them closer to the dog and the traps. Wild foxes were observed doing this very thing and hunters were quick to train domestic dogs to perform the deadly dance. Hidden nets were placed strategically over the creeks that would spring when released after the fowl reached the “trapping” area. The common folk rarely dared to poach game and if caught they could be shot on sight or subject to arrest and imprisonment. Some of the unlucky were hanged, for “the taking of game on private estates.”

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