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Shorebird Decoys

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Early Massachusetts Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy by an Unknown Maker, circa Late 19th Century. This is the second shorebird we have offered from this rig. This Shorebird Decoys from the 1880s reflects a Style typical of the South Shore of Massachusetts and often referred to as the “Lincoln Style”, though a number of early carvers worked in this style. The Paint displayed on this decoy is Quite Strong and Original with Thick Coloration which shows the Fine Craquelure from Age. The Decoy displays Paint Eyes, Original Bill, Sleek Form, and Split Tail Carving. As Yellowlegs the Body is Somewhat of a “Flattie” Form, not Round Bodied like a Plover. The Decoy has Tiny Shot Marks on both Side, indicative of the type of shot used in the 19th century, and a Couple of Minor Dents to the wood.  Measurements: 11 ½” in length, 1 ½” in width, 11” in height, including the stand. An Excellent 19th Century Shorebird Decoy in Fine Original Paint.

(DX352)  Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information.


Classic Greater Yellowlegs Flattie Shorebird Decoy from New England, circa 1920s. Many people believe that shorebird hunting came to an end with the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918 which ended commercial shorebird hunting. However, Large Plovers and Yellowlegs hunting was still allowed until 1928, when all shorebird hunting became illegal. Unfortunately, that time period brought us to the Depression era, and the shores were not highly populated at that time so many hunters still shot shorebirds to feed their families. That history aside, this Yellowlegs Flattie was typical of decoys that were quickly made and ready to use in the field. This decoy still displays Strong Original Paint, an Original Bill, and a Carrying Hole to help with other birds in the rig. Attesting to its use are a Few Small Shot Holes, Wear to the Paint Eye on one side, and Very Minor Wear to the Paint. The Decoy is 12 ½” in length, 1” in width, and 13 ¼” in height. A Fine Example of the Flattie Style Yellowlegs Decoys used in the 1920s – 1930s.

(DX390)   Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information.

Price $295 plus shipping


A Golden Plover Shorebird Decoy in Winter Plumage by Captain James Wyer (1816 – 1899), Nantucket, Massachusetts, circa 1870s – 1880s. Wyer’s early history is quite typical of the men of Nantucket. He sailed on whaling ships 4 times, first as a cooper (barrel maker) and last as a ship’s Captain. His wife Harriet died in 1860, Wyer retired from the sea, and went to work as a carpenter in California. After 4 years he returned to Nantucket and began making lightship baskets. (See Rafael Osona’s Bio on Captain James Wyer.) As with many men on Nantucket, Wyer also engaged in shorebird hunting and Golden Plover were an object of desire. This Plover Decoy in Winter Plumage is an artifact of the era of hunting with a Bold Body, Split Tail Carving, Tack Eyes, and Worn Original Paint; its use is apparent in the shot marks on the body. The Bill appears to be Original, as it shows considerable age. Measurements: 10 ½” in length, 2 ½” in width, and 11” in height, including the stand. If you’re looking for an Identifiable Nantucket Golden Plover Decoy from the 1800s, this is your opportunity.

(DX380)  Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information.


Early Black-bellied Plover Shorebird Decoy by an Unknown Maker from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, circa 1880s – 1900. This Fine Shorebird Decoy which has seen use in the field, displays Strong Original Paint with Wear to the Wood in some places. The Whiteish Paint appears to have been put on rather thinly with no primer; whereas, the Black Paint was placed much more heavily, though both areas show wear. The Decoy is Quite Full-bodied and rather heavy compared to the majority of Shorebirds. A reasonable guess suggests that the bird was made from Mahogany or Walnut, most likely Mahogany. The Decoy is nicely carved down to a Pointed Tail and Each Side of the Tail is Incised to Suggest Primary Wing Separation. The Bill was Dowelled into the Front Head and Held in Place with a Dowell through the Top of the Head. After the Bill was carved down, apparently chip carved, it was split in use and reattached. That Split has been professionally restored and retouched. The photographs should help clarify the description. Measurements: 11” in length, 3” in width, and 13 ½” in height, including the stand. A Fine Cape Cod Black-bellied Plover Decoy.

(DX388)  Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information.

Price $1375 plus shipping


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