According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Snowy Owls are, “Historically, one of the most persecuted owls in North America,” and thousands were shot during their sporadic winter migratory intrusions into New England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, decoys would not have been necessary to such pursuits, and this highly detailed carving was most likely made to honor the birds, not to lure them. It depicts a male Snowy Owl, which is almost completely white whereas females are flecked with black. Its deeply carved wings, tail, eyes, and beak; incised feathers; and turned head contribute to a remarkable portrait of this uncommon and eye-catching species.
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