British Bird Buff

Today

is the birthday of the founder of American ornithology, Alexander Wilson. Born in Scotland in 1766, Wilson started off as a poet, a weaver, and a peddler. But after emigrating to the United States in 1794, he became inspired by naturalist William Bartram to study ornithology and write about North American birds. In his leisure time, he studied art.

In 1808, Wilson published his first volume of American Ornithology. For the next 5 years he traveled, selling subscriptions to his treatise while continuing to collect bird specimens and complete more volumes. Along the way, he met John J. Audubon, whom he encouraged to paint bird life. Wilson died in 1813. A year later, the ninth and last volume of his work was published.

[Source: Britannica Online] COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE LIBRARY, NEWARK, DELAWARE