In winter, plume hunters in the West often worked as market hunters, shooting waterfowl and game birds for the restaurant trade in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Miller Photo Co./Courtesy of the Klamath County Museum

Agriculture + Environment

‘The Plume Hunter’ author will speak Thursday

By From page A4 | February 28, 2012

Northern California author Renée Thompson will speak at Flyway Nights, Yolo Basin Foundation’s public lecture series, at 7 p.m. Thursday. She will read from her new book, “The Plume Hunter,” and discuss the historical background that provides the setting for her novel.

“The Plume Hunter” follows the life of Fin McFaddin, a late-19th century Oregon outdoorsman who takes to plume hunting — killing birds to collect feathers for women’s hats — to support his widowed mother. In 1885, more than 5 million birds were killed in the United States for the millinery industry, prompting the formation of the Audubon Society.

The novel brings to life an era of the country’s natural history seldom explored in fiction, and follows Fin’s relationships with his lifelong friends as they struggle to adapt to society’s changing mores.

Thompson writes from the Sacramento area about wildlife, her love of birds and the people who inhabit the American West. “The Plume Hunter” is her second novel, which was published by Torrey House press and launched in December 2011.

The Yolo Basin Foundation offers Flyway Nights at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of the month from November to April. The talks take place at the state Department of Fish and Game’s Yolo Wildlife Area Headquarters at 45211 Chiles Road.

A $5 donation to support the foundation’s wetland education programs is suggested, and Yolo Basin members are free.

For more information, call the foundation at (530) 758-0530 or check www.yolobasin.org for future programs.

Enterprise staff

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