Bring back some good or bad memories

January 17, 2021

Vintage Portraits of Women Wearing Bird Hats From the Early 20th Century

Hats are generally practical. They keep heads warm, faces shaded and bald spots covered. There was nothing practical about ladies’ hats in the Victorian era, though. Victorian ladies’ hats were large, unwieldy accessories perched on heads with the help of painful little instruments called “hat pins.” These big hats were decorated with all sorts of baubles including bird feathers. The more feathers, the better the hat. Entire stuffed birds sometimes decorated hats.


“Somedays you just add a bow tie to your chicken hat and get on with life as best you can.”

Between around 1875 and the early 1900s, hunters killed hundreds of thousands of snowy egrets, owls, terns and other elegant birds to near extinction, but the species that suffered the most during this period of mass decimation was the passenger pigeon. Not nearly as resplendent as these other birds, the passenger pigeon — hunted mostly for food, but also for its tail feathers — flew in flocks dozens of miles wide, making them especially easy to net and shoot down. Massive flocks that had once taken hours to pass overhead shrank dramatically through the end of the 1800s, until the last passenger pigeon died in captivity on September 1, 1914.

Today, we understand that even when an animal seems abundant, our efforts to kill it for food or fashion can impact an entire species. But in the early 1900s, people didn’t believe they could put a dent in an animal’s population.

(via Blue Tube and Popular Science)




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