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Decoy birds fill lawn of Evans Mills man, catching eyes of passing motorists

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EVANS MILLS — A plan to clean his decoy birds has filled the lawn and brought some extra eyes to the LeRay Street home of Matthew J. Eggleston.

Mr. Eggleston had more than about 1,500 of his corrugated plastic decoy snow geese dirtied in Carthage earlier this month, when the field he had placed them in for a hunt flooded. The high waters left the rig he carried them in underwater.

Fishing the rig out, he was left last week with what he thought would be a time-consuming job.

“I was going to wash them individually,” he said. However, he was told that there was some rain in the forecast, which gave him the idea to set them outside.

His downstairs neighbor, Spc. Jason I. Stager, helped him place the decoys, filling the yard in about an hour and a half.

“I thought it was hilarious,” Spc. Stager said. However, his wife was less enthusiastic about the placement.

“She was worried it may attract real geese,” he said.

The forecast was on the money, and the rain did its job.

“It worked well,” Mr. Eggleston said.

What he didn’t expect was the placement would draw the attention of passing motorists.

“As soon as I did it, people constantly stopped,” he said. “People enjoyed them so much we figured we’d keep them out.”

Though his decoy geese, ducks, crows, Canada geese, turkeys and owls have been a popular addition to the look of the lawn, they are the result of years of work and development, since he made his first decoy bird in 2010, a pigeon made from a redesigned plastic bottle.

The birds are formed by interlocking pairs of the plastic material, creating a three-dimensional silhouette visible on the ground and in the air. Details such as the alteration of wing shape and posts that allow movement in the wind add realism to the birds.

“When the predators started hitting them, I knew we had it right,” Mr. Eggleston said.

Mr. Eggleston produces and paints the decoys for his company, Field King Decoys, in Watertown.

In the past year, he said, he has been contacted by investors interested in his decoy products, which may help push the birds toward larger markets.

Those looking to check out the decoys on Mr. Eggleston’s yard may not have much more time to do so. In the past few days, he cleared the decoys off his front lawn, still leaving hundreds remaining on the side portion.

But he said Friday that he wasn’t planning to keep them out very long, possibly just a few more days.

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