John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851). He was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter.   Audubon was born in Saint Dominigue (now Haiti), and sent to America as a young boy.  Audubon lived the life of a country gentleman, fishing, shooting, and developing skills at drawing birds, the only occupation to which he was ever willing to try.

Audubon was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.  His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of North America (1827-1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.  Audubon identified 25 new species and a number of new sub-species. When Audubon began his work in the early nineteenth century, there was no such profession as a “naturalist” in America. Audubon developed a system of inserting wires into the bodies of freshly killed birds in order to move them into natural poses for his sketches.


 

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