John McRae and Ulla Milbrath were talking about taxidermied birds this week, so today John brought in his collection of antique cotton batting birds, all perched on a glittery branch he made himself.
John says these chirpers are probably from the 1920s or 1930s, with batting bodies and legs made of stiff wire, then wrapped with finer gold wire to simulate the scaling of actual birds' legs.
Today, these birds' natural habitat is in antique shops or at the flea market, sold in actual bird cages! Originally they could have been Christmas tree ornaments from a time when the Christmas tree was decorated with the accouterments of spring, a magic spell to make a wish for winter's end come true.
They're getting a bit worn with age, but John says that just helps them look more like their taxidermied cousins.