Introduction to the project
- an internet publication
Waterfowl decoys are figures of birds produced for the purpose of bird-shooting. Originally the decoys were made by the waterfowlers themselves - often with such great care that they vitually became works of art. The old decoys have therefore become sought-after collectors' items.
Waterfowling with decoys is closely associated with the major annual migrations of birds known both in Europe and in America. In Europe, Denmark is an important transit-point for migrating birds between the winter areas in southern Europe and the breeding grounds in the north of Scandinavia. Danes have traditionally taken their share of the surplus, and the use of decoy birds has been one of the favourite methods employed.
The history of waterfowl decoys in Denmark is not well-documented. They have certainly been made in Denmark since the middle of the 19th century. Their form has varied considerably, depending on local tradition and economic conditions. As a rule they are anonymous - although in rare cases they may have a maker's mark. Certain decoy-makers have occasionally been mentioned in Danish hunting periodicals, but there is only one book, Eske K Mathiesen's "Danske Lokkefugle", Copenhagen 1998, which provides a broader presentation of decoy-making as a part of the culture of Danish coastal regions.
"Danish Decoys" covers almost 300 decoys, 45 biographies of decoy-makers and 70 photographs related to waterfowling. Within each category one can search in different ways, for instance by type of bird, by decoy-maker, by technique or geographical region or by combinations of these.
The Danish Museum of Hunting and Forestry is grateful to the many individuals throughout the country, and to those in local historical archives and museums who have contributed to this project. Particular thanks are addressed to Henning Kørvel, journalist, and to Jørgen Westerdahl, former National Chairman of the Danish Waterfowling Association. Their constructive cooperation has been a major element in bringing the internet publication of "Danish Decoys" to fruition.