John James Audubon was born on his father’s plantation in Haiti on this day in 1780. Despite being born of his father’s mistress, he was raised in France by his father’s wife and educated with other young aristocrats. He took an early interest in drawing birds, when he found himself without an income he proceeded to paint some of the finest images of North America’s avians. The modern Audubon Society approves of his art but would hardly approve of his methods: He got the birds to pose for him by first shooting them.
It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.
The birds I heard today, which, fortunately, did not come within the scope of my science, sang as freshly as if it had been the first morning of creation.
– Henry David Thoreau, 1817 – 1862
I value my garden more for being full [of] blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
– Joseph Addison, 1672 – 1719
The bird has an honor that man does not have. Man lives in the traps of his abdicated laws and traditions; but the birds live according to the natural law of God who causes the earth to turn around the sun.
– Kahlil Gibran, 1883 – 1931
God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
– Jacques Deval, 1895 – 1972
To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.
– Gore Vidal
From Quotes of the Day