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John James Audubon (1785-18521) was an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. His goal was to document all American birds in their natural environment. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of North America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species and a number of new sub-species. This work consists of 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species, made from engraved copper plates. They were printed on sheets measuring about 39 by 26 inches. A sequel, Ornithological Biographies was finished in 1839. In 1842, he published an octavo edition of Birds of America, with 65 additional plates. Audubon's final work, on mammals, was the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. His son John Woodhouse Audubon drew most of the plates. The work was completed by Audubon's sons and son-in-law and was published posthumously. Although Audubon had no role in the organization that bears his name, there is a connection. George Bird Grinnell, one of the founders of the early Audubon Society in the late 1800s, was tutored by Lucy Audubon, John James’s widow. Knowing Audubon’s reputation, Grinnell chose his name as the inspiration for the organization’s earliest work to protect birds and their habitats. Today, the name Audubon remains synonymous with birds and bird conservation the world over.





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