Monday, June 13, 2011

John James Audubon - Long Billed Curlew

John James Audubon (1785-1851) - Long Billed Curlew (1834)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
From Birds of America - Amon Carter Museum Texas
Audubon was a French-American and a major twitter (bird watcher).  His epic bird illustrations were compiled into the bird watching bible - Birds of North America - from 1827 to 1839.  The artist hails from a time when naturalists began to observe the natural world and the behaviour of birds, plants and animals - particularly in locations that were unfamiliar to European sensibilities.

The artist's interest in birds in clearly demonstrated through the fine detail that is presented in his plates, not only in terms of the birds themselves, but also of their habitat.  Audubon had a keen interest in birds throughout his life, as he was one of the first people to band birds, in order to understand their longer term living habits.  Charles Darwin quoted from Audubon's works on three occasions in the Origin of Species, and the artist is attributed as discovering 25 new species of bird, during his preparation of the Birds of North America.

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