In honor of Northwest Ohio’s Biggest Week in American Birding festival (May 6–15), we present this print by Audubon. As a child in France, Audubon began sketching birds, and in 1820—seven years after he moved to America—he decided to make his watercolors into a profitable endeavor. Audubon set out to paint every known North American bird and to publish the results as hand-colored etchings. He depicted 489 species before exhausting his personal resources. Audubon’s influential innovation was to pose the birds as he thought they moved in the wild and to show them in their natural habitats. This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, who died in the Cincinnati Zoo.
John James Audubon (American, 1785–1851), The Passenger Pigeon from Birds of America, hand-colored etching and aquatint, 1829. 30 3/16 x 26 1/8 in. Gallery 18, In Fine Feather: Birds, Art & Science
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