John James Audubon

John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, hunter, and painter. He painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America in a form far superior to what had gone before. Born in Haiti and raised in France as a youth, in his embrace of America, and his outsized personality and achievements, he represented the new American people of the United States.

Audubon's influence on ornithology and natural history was far reaching. Nearly all later ornithological works were inspired by his artistry and high standards. Charles Darwin quoted Audubon three times in The Origin of Species and also in later works. Despite some errors in field observations, Audubon's field notes comprised a significant contribution to the understanding of bird anatomy and behavior. Birds of America is still considered one of the greatest examples of book art. Among his accomplishments, Audubon discovered twenty-five new species and twelve new subspecies.


He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Linnaean Society, and the Royal Society of London in recognition of his contributions.

The homestead Mill Grove in Audubon, PA is open to the public and contains a museum presenting all his major works, including Birds of America.

The John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Kentucky is the site of The Audubon Museum that houses many of Audubon's original watercolors, oils, engravings, and personal memorabilia. The Nature Center features a wildlife observatory to nurture love for nature and the great outdoors.

In 1905, the National Audubon Society was incorporated and named in his honor. Its mission "is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity."


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