OH SO NINETEENTH CENTURY
The gamekeepers on these landed estates - they're the
men who keep the wildlife - take care of and order the game
on large holdings. Fox and deer and wolves and cats, I guess.
They used to nail up the withered and shrunken corpses of
crows, jays, weasels, stoats, sparrowhawks, buzzards, kestrels,
peregrines, hedgehogs, and owls - all hanging in a row like
bedraggled coats on pegs. They don't do that anymore, and it's
all illegal now. Like the loyal dog, always retrieving something,
everything about this idea is so old.
When Roger Tory Peterson - bird artist and environmentalist,
was a boy, he found a golden-shafted flicker lying on the forest
floor, and put his hand out to touch the dead body, only to
discover that the flicker was not dead but merely exhausted from
its migratory journey. It burst back into flight, and set Roger
on the path of his life's work. Things like that really do happen.