Once upon a time in 1941, Leon Leonwood Bean bought some decoys from his friend George Soule and put them in his L.L. Bean catalog. George called his business ''The Decoy Shop;” in 1975 he sold it to Hargy Heap III. Heap ran the decoy business in Freeport, Maine, until he sold it in 1990. During the time Heap owned The Decoy Shop, this unusual decoy of a common puffin was carved and painted.
The common puffin, a cross between a penguin and a duck, is also called an Atlantic puffin, since it's the only puffin native to that ocean. The actual seabird measures about 11 inches in length from the tip of its bill to the end of its blunt-ended tail; this example is about full size at 10 ½ inches long and weighs about the same as the real thing at a little over one pound.
This puffin is shown with the colorful beak it acquires during mating season: orangey red with blue gray cheeks and yellow stripes. Its crown and back are black, with the underparts a contrast in white. The decoy is carved in its floating position, since it stands erect on land. The body measures about 5 inches across at the widest point and and 5 ½ inches tall to the top of its head.
The decoy is marked with a burned-in stamp on the bottom that reads: the decoy shop... FREEPORT, MAINE...H. Heap III, Prop. Above that stamp are the words COMMON PUFFIN and below is the penciled signature of the artist: hand painted by Lorna Perry, 1984. Since it was not meant to be a working decoy and was not shot over, it's in very good condition, with some rubbing to the paint on the tip of the beak and a few shallow dents and nicks to the body. It's a nice addition to a decoy collection and a decorative one at that.