Simplicity is the key for working decoys–the anatomy is simplified, and the painting is stylized and very basic. We developed this pattern for use in the Seal Island Project here in the Gulf of Maine, and have carved cases of them for use in that restoration project. As so often happens, folks asked if we would make pieces for display as well. We did, initially making them lifesize, like the ones on the island. Later we added the medium and pint-sized as well. They are all carved from cedar and pine, are smooth-bodied (slicks), painted in the same way, and mounted on a driftwood base. The only thing that differs is their size.
How well do they work? If this photo of a newcomber interacting with one of our decoys is any indication, we'd say quite well...
More conclusive than a single photo, according to the folks at Audubon's Project Puffin website, "After restoration, puffins began nesting in 1992 and by 2012 more than 500 pairs were nesting."
We carve lots of Atlantic Puffins, from fully realistic pieces (photo just below), all the way down to Christmas tree ornaments.