Happy Birthday, John James Audubon! The famous student and painter of birds was born on April 26, 1785. In celebration of his great work, and of the conservation movement he helped inspire, we present a few examples of his illustrations.
All of these images come from his seminal work The Birds of America, printed in a series from 1827 to 1838. These drawings come courtesy of the digital collection of the New York Public Library, which includes many other illustrations from Audubon.
Above is an adult male whooping crane, which appears to be going for a meal of baby alligators. The bird is presently endangered.
Next are extinct Carolina parrots, the last of which was killed in 1904. This illustration shows adult males (1 & 2), an adult female (3) and a young bird (4).
American kestrels (sparrow hawks), one of which appears to be holding its next meal.
Two Chuck-will’s widows, which are alarmed by what was known as a harlequin snake but is now called a coral snake.