The art of making and using decoys to attract birds has been around for at least a thousand years. Traditionally, decoys were used for hunting, to lure game within weapon range.

Mad River Decoy specializes in making decoys that are used in various seabird colony or research projects such as colony restoration, colony relocation, banding and management studies.  Our decoys have been used in numerous projects around the world to successfully re-establish or move colonies of seabirds.


Social attraction is a technique developed in the early 1970’s by ornithologist Dr. Steven Kress where colonial seabirds are lured to historic, new or safer breeding areas by using decoys, sound systems and mirrors.  For birds that nest in colonies, seeing others of their own kind is critical.  This set-up creates the appearance of an active colony that lures in live birds and they in turn attract more.  By using social attraction, Dr. Kress successfully re-established long abandoned Atlantic Puffin colonies on the Maine coast (www.projectpuffin.org). Since then, social attraction has been used to relocate or restore colonies of numerous species of birds around the world.