Happy Birthday, John James Audubon! It is the 226th anniversary of his birth, today the 26th.
(Happy birthday also to my mother!)
This is the home page picture on Google today,
Several years ago when we were in New York visiting my grandparents, we went to the NY Historical Society, around the corner from my mother’s first apartment. Although the NYHS has the biggest collection of Audubon illustrations in the world, at the time they had hardly any on display, which was disappointing. Now they have a series of exhibits called “Audubon’s Aviary”.
When we were learning about early American history a few years ago (we home school), my mother read us the following children’s books about J.J. Audubon. They are all picture book biographies good for kids up to about age 10 or so (older if you are really interested in Audubon and birds),
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor
Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong, illustrated by Joseph A. Smith
Dover also has some nice, cheap activity books for kids:
Audubon Bird Seals (these would be nice on wrapping paper to gift wrap a bird book for your favorite birder!)
We also have a vintage out-of-print “double” book from the Dandelion Library for children, published by Grolier. On one side is “Audubon’s Birds” and the other side is “Audubon’s Animals”. Very neat if you can find a copy. I think my mother found a bunch of these books at a garage sale when we were little.
Another one of my hobbies is stamp collecting, so I was excited to find these Audubon bird stamps.
I also like to listen to podcasts, here is a good one on Audubon’s Birds of America, from Yale University.
John Burroughs was an American naturalist. He was born in 1837 and died in 1921. In 1902, he wrote a biography of John James Audubon. You can find the book at Project Gutenberg, and it is also available as a free audiobook at LibriVox.
Here is a nice catalogue of Mr. Audubon’s “Birds of America”.
We don’t get PBS (we have only two TV channels and both are Canadian) and the DVD isn’t available any more, but one day I would like to watch the American Masters documentary about JJ Audubon, “Drawn from Nature”. Here is a preview I think, and here is the web page. Maybe some stations will show it again today for his birthday!
Last, here is a quotation from him: “As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature.”