Two hundred and twenty-three years ago today John James Audubon was born and perhaps bird conservation itself. Audubon’s namesake lives on most notably with the National Audubon Society but also in the hearts of birders everywhere.
Although John James Audubon was never part of the organization, “George Bird Grinnell, one of the founders of the early Audubon Society in the late 1800s, was tutored by Lucy Audubon, John Jamesâ€™s widow. Knowing Audubonâ€™s reputation, Grinnell chose his name as the inspiration for the organizationâ€™s earliest work to protect birds and their habitats.”
Audubon’s journey to paint the birds of North America seems romantic and far-fetched in today’s era but each time we as birders go out, in a sense we are following in Audubon’s footsteps. While he collected birds (shot them), he also enjoyed them and knew of the importance of conserving bird habitat.
He even conducted an experiment with Eastern Phoebes, tying strings on their legs and discovered the same birds returned to the same spot year after year. This is the first known bird-banding to have taken place.
John James Audubon’s life story is the epitome of the American way: he never gave up on his dream and his hard work and dedication is why he succeeded.
Have a happy Audubon Day and if you aren’t a member, consider joining the National Audubon Society.