Who Was J.J. Audubon?


Quick Answer

John James Audubon was a painter and bird enthusiast whose work remains widely recognized many years later. Born in Santo Domingo, which was a French colony at the time of his birth, he was sent to America in 1803 by his father to avoid conscription into the army Napoleon was building at the time.

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Once married, Audubon left the farm his father had sent him to and headed toward the frontier. There he had a few failed business ventures while he took up the hobby of shooting and studying birds. A large part of this study was drawing the birds as he examined them. For some years, he lived a rough life travelling along the Mississippi River and studying birds.

He collected his drawings together with the intention of publishing them. Although he had to travel to London to find a publisher, his book "Birds of America" was finally published in four volumes over a span of some years. Audubon wrote two other books throughout his life, including "Ornithological Biography," which gave more detailed information about the bird images in "Birds of America."

Audubon remains an important figure in wildlife conservation efforts. The Audubon Society is a prominent conservation organization that was named after him. His works are still in print and widely distributed, and originals fetch a high price at auction.

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