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The Birthday of John James Audubon

© John James Audubon View Large

April 26th is the birthday of John James Audubon, woodsman, naturalist, and painter. He included 435 birds - including this Barn Swallow - in his monumental Birds of America. In A Book of Americans, Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet wrote about Audubon: "Some men live for warlike deeds, Some for women's words. John James Audubon Lived to look at birds." Read the whole poem at the PoetryFoundation.org.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®
April 26—The Birthday of John James Audubon

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!
[Background ambient of Northeastern US garden]
April 26th is the birthday of John James Audubon, woodsman, naturalist, and painter. Enduring great physical hardship, he traveled on foot or by canoe throughout the United States to paint the 435 birds included in his monumental Birds of America. Some of the birds he captured on canvas are now extinct. Audubon himself did not start the Audubon Society, but his wife tutored George Grinnell. And in the late 1880s, Grinnell founded the first Audubon Society. He named it in honor of John James Audubon. Today there are more than 500 Audubon chapters in the United States.
In A Book of Americans, Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét wrote this about Audubon:
 
Some men live for warlike deeds,
Some for women's words.
John James Audubon
Lived to look at birds.
 
Pretty birds and funny birds,
All our native fowl
From the little cedar waxwing
To the Great Horned Owl.

Let the wind blow hot or cold,
Let it rain or snow,
Everywhere the birds went
Audubon would go.
 
Scrambling through a wilderness,
Floating down a stream,
All around America
In a feathered dream.

Read the rest of the poem and learn more about John James Audubon on our web site, BirdNote.org. I’m Frank Corrado.
###
NE US bird ambient provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Recorded by G.F. Budney.
“John James Audubon” by Stephen Vincent Benét, from A Book of Americans, by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét, read with permission from Henry Holt & Company, © 1933 by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét.
Copyright renewed 1961 by Rosemary Carr Benét
Producer:  John Kessler
Executive Producer:  Chris Peterson
© 2009 Tune In to Nature.org Rev. for April 2009

ID# 042607audu2KPLU   jjaudubon-02-2009-04-26

==============================
        .....
        Thirty years of traveling,
        Pockets often bare,
        (Lucy Bakewell Audubon
        Patched them up with care).

        Followed grebe and meadowlark,
        Saw them sing and splash.
        (Lucy Bakewell Audubon
        Somehow raised the cash).

        Drew them all the way they lived
        In their habitats.
        (Lucy Bakewell Audubon
        sometimes wondered "Cats?")

        Colored them and printed them
        In a giant book,
        "Birds of North America"-
        All the world said, "Look!"

        Gave him medals and degrees,
        Called him noble names,
        -Lucy Bakewell Audubon
        Kissed her queer John James.

 


 

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