artist david parks

Tofino art: David Parks

Shorebird Decoys


Carving decoys is the self-taught occupation of David Parks that began in the mid 1980’s as a hobby. This pursuit has now developed into his business that occupies much of his time.

Long-billed curlews are David’s favorite bird, having grown up with them in his native Ireland. You will find many different curlew styles in his appropriately named “The Curlew Workshop .” Some are of his own design while others are in the tradition of the early carvers who made curlew decoys. In fact, David relies on the styles of the early traditions and much research goes into the making of each of his decoys so that they replicate the originals as closely as possible.

It was shortly before the cessation of the hunting of shorebirds, that the mantel bird came into existence. Hunters would order decoys and include some for their mantelpiece. Thus the two-legged mantel bird was created specifically for this non-hunting purpose and is an integral part of the lore of the shorebird decoy.

Handcarving shorebird decoys gives David great satisfaction as the image emerges from the wood. These decoys are highly imaginative works of art representing a bygone era.

David Parks’ work can be viewed at the Islandfolk Art Gallery in Tofino and at


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Carving decoys is the self-taught occupation of David Parks that began as a hobby. His shore bird decoy can be found at Islandfolk in Tofino.

april 2003

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