Wendell Gilley started carving birds in the 1930's after being fascinated by a collection of miniature bird carvings he saw at the New England Museum of Natural History in Boston. He had gone to the museum to visit the massive collection of taxidermy dioramas (his primary hobby at the time) but was profoundly inspired to try carving birds himself. As his collection grew and his skills improved he began driving from his home on Mount Desert Island, Maine, to the original Abercrombie and Finch in New York and selling the birds for $3.75. Mr. Gilley estimates he created over ten thousand works from 1931-1983. The Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor, Maine houses hundreds of Mr. Gilley's sculptures, as well as gives classes on the art of carving.