Bird Watcher's Birthday

Naturalist John James Audubon, renowned for his intricate paintings of North American birds, was born on 26 April 1785 in what is now Haiti. Audubon grew up in France and emigrated to the United States in 1803. He had a passion for natural history and traveled throughout the United States, painting the wildlife he encountered.

By 1825, Audubon had produced a vast collection of bird paintings, but U.S. publishers turned up their noses. In England, however, he found a publisher to engrave plates of the paintings and sell them by subscription. Aububon's Birds of America was published in England in 87 parts between 1827 and 1838, followed by a bound edition in the United States in 1839. Audubon was one of the earliest advocates of conservation, and the Audubon Society is named in his honor. He died in 1851.

[Source: Roy Porter, Ed., The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists (Oxford University Press, ed. 2, 1994).]