Lark Finch, Prairie Finch, Brown Song Sparrow; Plate 390, Havell ed. 78 1836-37

Audubon was born in present day Haiti in 1785, the son of a French naval officer and planter. As a young child he had a passion for exploring the countryside and drawing wildlife; his interest in nature intensified in 1803 when he came to the United States and was confronted by the pristine and bountiful American frontier. This passion was the cause of many successes and failures throughout his life. Early in adulthood, it led to the downfall of several business ventures. However, in 1820, while living in Cincinnati, Ohio, working as a taxidermist at the Western Museum and teaching art lessons on the side, he finally discovered what his life’s work would be. Audubon wanted to be the first to successfully blend fine art and science by capturing the natural beauty of birds and their environment using scientific observation as the basis for his art making. This idea eventually became Bird’s of America, his attempt to document and name every bird in America.

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