“Hollywoods”…American Shovelers!


Bootlips, smiling mallard, or, the other greenhead, the poor pitiful Shoveler gets no respect.  I don’t really understand why except for their not so good table qualities, not a very wary quarry, or perhaps the fact they fly like a winged hippopotamus. For all its shortcomings i do think they make up for it with their natural beauty.  “Hollywoods” another nickname as they are often referred, the drakes support an iridescent green head, snow white chest and a beautiful reddish maroon belly. Their blue wing patches contrast green speculum wing feathers and white and black highlights plus tangerine orange feet makes him a stunningly colorful fellow! The hen like most hen ducks are drab, but with a bright large orange bill and tangerine orange feet too, it is no less colorful than any other female ducks. I have tried to capture the color and beauty of this wildfowl with a fun filled whimsical carving.  This call in The North American Collection” is the contrast from the smiling Louisiana Hollywoods to the grinning California Hollywoods!

Nestled in the Louisiana swamp a simple bayou house sits on strategically placed stilts.  Its early fall and the great Cyprus trees with their moss draped limbs are turning rust orange as the cool winds and shorter days’ approach.  Grey smoke fills the sky from the stove pipe and perhaps being even a little warm, the open window with its red checkerboard drape lets the wind blow in its fresh country air. Newly washed clothes protected from the sun’s fading rays by a gingerbread type roof, do their best to dry on a line in the cool humid air.  Patriotism is on display with the American flag flying high! This old house needs repair work.  The house needs painting, the metal roof needs patched as does the door’s broken screen needing replaced. The water barrel is also showing signs of rust and wear. More fuel for the lantern must also be bought.  The pirogue awaits, ready to go for all the needed supplies. On the water a bullfrog perched on a lily pad guards his territory, scouring the lotus flower for random insects. Below the water line we observe the underwater bayou world.  The root structure of giant Cyprus trees provides homes for many types of fish including bullhead catfish, flathead catfish, silver drum, and even a long-nosed gar, hungrily snacking on a redhorse minnow. A crawdad seems unconcerned over a lost fishing lure, line, hooks and all, deeply snagged in an old Cyprus root nearby.  Three American Shoveler ducks, two drakes and a hen all displaying their beautiful classic winter plumage like well-dressed actors and an actress on a set, show off and smile as they pass through this Cajun paradise!

Jumping to the insert “Hollywood” is full display with the “Hollywood Hills” supporting its famous sign and with other signs telling of their famous areas like rodeo drive and Beverly Hills. “Hollywood’s” red carpet is rolled out and images of famous and classic actor and actresses are shown. The incredibly beautiful Marilyn Monroe, classy Clark Gable and the gorgeous redheaded, Rita Hayworth all are icons of “Hollywood’s” vogue era!  These two worlds never meet except for random movie films made in the great state of Louisiana. But here i try to give my Shovelers some rise in respect.  I do believe the bootlips, smiling mallards, “Hollywoods” are great wildfowl. In fact if you look at the top of the call barrel where the Grauman’s Chinese Theater’s “Walk of Fame” is carved, I put my “Hollywood’s duckfeet print in the square right between miss Rita Hayworth’s and Mr. Clark Gable’s.  After all, Donald Duck can’t be the only duck on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame”!

I so hope you enjoy this call!

Joe Bucher


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