“Verity” Style Peep #043
Shorebird decoys rarely turn up in original paint unless they were never used for hunting. Often the working decoys were transported in a basket or a burlap sack, and stored in barns or boat houses when not in use. Many were lost to incoming tides or forgotten in the dunes, turned up years later by lucky beachcombers or pickers. Sometimes these old-timers are more attractive with little or no paint. A collector can handle a bird like this and wonder about the stories it could tell.
My friend Mark McNair, who lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and is one of, if not THE greatest contemporary decoy makers working today, calls his shorebirds “feelies,” because they are not only great to look at, but they just feel good in your hand. Like great sculpture, shorebird decoys should be touched or handled.
This reproduction of an Obediah Verity “Peep” is one of the tiniest shorebirds you will find. It measures about 5” from bill to tail, has carved eyes and wing-tips, and I have removed most of the paint to let the bare wood show through, as if it had lain in the dunes for many years. This little guy would nestle nicely in the palm of your hand, when you are not enjoying his sassy look on his wood stand on your shorebird shelf.