Ferguson is a peripatetic and slightly elusive figure in the history of Scottish art. He is however, one of the most accomplished British still-life painters of the 17th century. His work shows the clear influence of the Dutch painters, in particular Jan Vonck and Willem van Aelst. He worked in Utrecht, the Hague and Amsterdam and he also visited Italy and travelled to London where his patrons included the Duke of Lauderdale who commissioned pictures from him for Ham House.
The subject matter of dead birds is typical of the artist and examples can be found in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (from 1662) and the National Gallery of Scotland (1684).