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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
410.742.4988

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Birdsall "Budge" Ridgeway {1912 - 1982} Barnegat, New Jersey  

Barnegat Bay is the Northern end of a chain of bays and marshes between the mainland and the outer beaches which extend from Bay Head to Cape May at the Southern tip of New Jersey. It was in this setting that for more than a hundred years, men like Birdsall Ridgeway created a way of life characterized by decoy making, duck hunting and the construction of hunting boats known as "sneak boxes." The Ridgeway workshop was a favorite gathering spot for local gunners and out-at-town hunters who were drawn to the region.

Several well carved "confidence” and '"sleepers" decoys for brant and goose are attributed to Birdsall. He is believed to have carved, but not necessary painted all of the decoys attributed to him. There are a number of Ridgeways who took to carving decoys and it is possible that another member of the family may have done work for which he receives the credit.

Ridgeway and other members of the total hunting community all carved their brant decoys in a slightly tipped forward pose which was designed to attract the slower flying cousin of the Canada geese. His decoys are hollow-bodied and "splendidly fashioned."

 

For additional information

American Bird Decoys, 1965 by William J. Mackey, Jr.

Decoys at the Shelburne Museum, 1961 by David S. Webster and William Kehoe.

New Jersey Decoys, 1983 by Henry A. Fleckenstein.

Working Deooys of the Jersey Coast and Dekiware VaUey, 1985 by Kenneth L. Gasner.