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David Personius Decorative Bird Decoys

About his artwork, Alaskan artist David Personius says, "I am a contemporary folk artist. My art form is the American bird decoy. Over the past 150 years, the use of handmade bird decoys for hunting has evolved into today’s modern forms of decorative bird carving and sculpture. The craft of handmade hunting decoys still exists and is kept alive by dedicated aficionados of the art form. Today, carved and painted birds from “folksy” to “ultra-realistic” can be seen in shows and other venues across North America. 

In times past, waterfowl and shorebird decoys were used to aid in the harvest of vast amounts of wild birds to feed a growing new nation. Much of this activity was unregulated and led to reductions, and in some cases, extinction, of migratory species. Once these hunting activities were brought under regulatory control, some, but not all, bird populations recovered due to the continued destruction of critical habitats.

In recent years, I have used my art to help promote the conservation and preservation of these birds and their Arctic habitats that are crucial to their life cycles. It is of great joy to me that I can use this art form that was once used to reduce and threaten migratory bird populations to increase the awareness of their existence and aid in the preservation of the habitats that are necessary for their survival."