Three birds

Three birds on a roof
Three birds, a Raven, a Jackdaw and a Bronte Crow, sit brotherly together on a roof

A special photo of three birds, made by Hugo Wilmar during the Second World War.

Circa 1942 Hugo Wilmar participates in a photo contest. He photographs the birds on the roof of his parental house. A Raven, Jackdaw and Hooded Crow, sitting together brotherly.

The picture is almost too perfect. Three different birds, so close to each other, apparently in consultation, you never actually encounter. How did Hugo Wilmar get this picture?

Set up

It appears from the stories of Hugo's sister, Cecilia Wilmar, that these are three birds, stuffed by Hugo himself. Wilmar has masterfully put the birds together as if they have something to discuss.

The jury does not realize this, and Hugo Wilmar wins the competition.


Unfortunately the negative of this photo has been lost. The family archive only contains a (neat) printout. There is also no reference to the photo competition and the year in which this photo was taken. The exact story behind this photo is only known from the lore of Cecilia de Wolf - Wilmar.

Real birds or not?

The stories of Jan Woldijk show that during the war Hugo Wilmar had a fairly simple camera. The zoom range wouldn't have been that great.

It is almost unthinkable that you can see these three different birds sitting together so quietly, without any food being present. This cannot be seen in the photo. It is also almost impossible to get so close unnoticed without disturbing the Rook, Crow and Raven.

It is therefore plausible that these are indeed three stuffed birds. The legs of the beasts are barely visible. Moreover, we know that in addition to photography, Hugo Wilmar had a passion for nature, for hunting and poaching. He was also good at setting up animals. The story behind the photo, preserved from tradition, therefore seems plausible.

Parental Home Hugo Wilmar
Hugo Wilmar's childhood home on the Amalia van Solmsstraat, The Hague. Photo: © The Hague Municipal Archives

Other masterpieces:

Rescue of the Beaver


In September 1952 Hugo wilmar published an article in “Outdoor Life Magazine, entitled…
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