By 1911 Henry Ford owned 2150 acres of undeveloped woodland along the northern branch
of the River Rouge in Dearborn Township, Michigan. According to biographer Allan Nevins,
Ford tried a number of ill-fated preservationist schemes with the property before deciding
to build his mansion "Fair Lane" there in 1913:
One of his first acts had been to turn a number of deer loose in the woods.
A little later he obtained the cooperation of the head of the Michigan Audubon
Society in a project for using 500 bird-houses and special food to induce many
birds--flickers, bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals and others--to remain there all
winter. When he went to England in 1912 he told Percival Perry of his wildlife
preserve; and Perry the following spring sent over almost 500 English birds,
including chaffinches, larks, linnets, and thrushes, to be released in the grounds.
They quickly scattered over the broad American landscape, where probably few
survived to bring up progeny. (584)