“Who thinks the all-encircling sun Rises and sets in his back yard?”

by chuckofish


Today is the birthday of the artist John James Audubon (1785 – 1851). Audubon came to America in 1803 to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Wars. He became an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter, notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats

Here are a few examples of his great avian art, courtesy of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove in Audubon, Pennsylvania, and the Montgomery County Audubon Collection.


American Robin


Burrowing Owl




Wood ducks

What an amazing life full of travel, science and art!

By the way, Audubon is buried in the graveyard at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession in the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum at 155th Street and Broadway near his home, Minnie’s Land. He spent the last nine years of his life on this thirty-five acre property, which is now upper Manhattan, facing the Hudson River.


Trinity Cemetery

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Detail of Trinity monument

There are statues of Audubon all over the country!


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Covington, Kentucky


Henderson, Kentucky

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Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana

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Audubon, Iowa

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Museum of Natural History, NYC

You could make quite an interesting road trip following the path leading to all of the John James Audubon statues!

“All praise and honor! I confess
That bread and ale, home-baked, home-brewed
Are wholesome and nutritious food,
But not enough for all our needs;
Poets-the best of them-are birds
Of passage; where their instinct leads
They range abroad for thoughts and words
And from all climes bring home the seeds
That germinate in flowers or weeds.
They are not fowls in barnyards born
To cackle o’er a grain of corn;
And, if you shut the horizon down
To the small limits of their town,
What do you but degrade your bard
Till he at last becomes as one
Who thinks the all-encircling sun
Rises and sets in his back yard?”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow