The Birds of Audubon

Naturalist John James Audubon is best known for his studies and paintings of which animals?

And the answer: birds.

Photo credit: Audubon

Born in modern-day Haiti, John James Audubon was an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter who extensively documented North American birds and even identified 25 new species. His book The Birds of America is considered one of the most comprehensive books about birds ever completed.

Photo credit: Audubon

Interestingly, Audubon had no direct role in the organization that bears his name. George Grinnell, one of the founders of the Audubon Society in the late 1800s, was tutored by John Audubon's widow, Lucy Audubon. Grinnell knew that an association with this name would inspire an association with bird conservation, habitat preservation and the pursuit of knowledge. Today, the name Audubon has come to stand for just that. The Audubon Society has been a major player in bird conservation for more than two centuries, and ensured a sustainable environment for countless birds.

Did you know?

Out of his 435 watercolor paintings of North American birds, just two depicted humans. The first of which shows a snowy egret and a generic hunter far in the background. The second (featured above) depicts the golden eagle, and is surrounded in mystery. The figure in the back of the painting was assumed to be Audubon himself, yet he vanished when the painting entered publication. No one is sure why Audubon removed his figure to this day.

Check out this video to learn more about conservation achievements of the Audubon Society:

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