Even at the same time that Alfred Russel Wallace and other scientists like him were trying to catalogue and preserve the natural kingdom, the forces of fashion were at work.
Victoria women's fashion was obsessed with feathers on hats. The more exotic the bird or the feather, the more of a status symbol. "In 1886 a prominent ornithologist conducted an informal survey of the extent of the feather fever during an afternoon stroll through an uptown New York shopping district. He counted seven hundred ladies wearing hats, three quarters of them sporting whole skins. They weren't poaching birds out of Central Park; ordinary backyard birds carried little status in the hierarchy of feather fashion. The species in vogue were Birds of Paradise, Parrots, Toucans, Quetzals, Hummingbirds, the Cock of the Rock, Snowy Egrets, and Ospreys."
"When the Titanic went down in 1912, the most valuable and highly insured merchandise in its hold was forty crates of feathers, second only to diamonds in the commodities market." As bird numbers plummeted, it took the efforts of groups like the Audobon Society to change the public opinion of feathers. With the passage of the Lacey Act in 1900, and President Theodore Roosevelt creating the first bird refuge in Florida to save the Snowy Egret, the stemming of the tide of feather fever finally started to shift - but never went away entirely.
Which brings us to fly making.