Anyone who enjoys bird watching surely knows about the Audubon Society and the man who first captured the amazing beauty of birds, John James Audubon . Born in 1785, John James Audubon was born on asugar plantationin France and always had an interest in birds. As a young boy, he always enjoyed walks through the woods where he would draw pictures of the birds that he seen. This led to him being well known for his portraits of birds and that history can be found at the John James Audubon State Park in western Kentucky.
Audubon knew that he could do a better job of depicting the birds than that of other artists and he set out to do just that. Audubon was also the first person to begin banding birds in order to keep some record of where they were. This practice is very common still today and scientists use banding to this day to record the behaviors of certain birds.By 1811, Audubon had a wide array of bird drawings and field notes with many of them, but those were lost to rats after he traveled away in 1812. He worked at several jobs and was eventually bankrupt and in 1819, he actually was in jail because of his debt.
In 1820, he set out once again to paint and see all the birds in North America. This took four years, but he went to Philadelphia in 1824 to find someone who could publish his works but didn’t succeed until 1826 when he took his work to England and raised the money to begin to publish his first work, “Birds of America”. This book contained 435 actually drawings of over 700 species of birds. This was the first of several books containing his art work. Many of these first drawings can still be seen today at the John James Audubon State Park in the museum in Henderson, Kentucky.
The Audubon Museum located inside the park offers an extensive collection of folio nature prints and exhibits about his work. Children are welcomed to learn more about Audubon and his work as they climb into a large birds’ nest, and enjoy the nature center and the art museum. There are also plenty of places to enjoy the hobby of bird watching and why not try your hand at drawing a bird while you are there.
While in the area, stop by the Audubon Mill Park where you are welcome to have a picnic, watch boats dock, or see themillstone that Audubon used when he operated the grist mill here. There are many concerts and special events held here each year so visitors can always find something exciting to do here. Bring your binoculaurs and watch some birds while catching a glimpse of the grist mill that once set on this site.
Continuing his beauty and fabulous love of birds, the town of Henderson has added life size sculptures of some of the birds in his works of art to the town. Eight bronze scultures can be seen as visitors take a leisurly walk down Second Street, take a right onto Elm Street, and right again on First Street. This walk will lead them back to the park. These statues were created by Kentucky native, Raymond Graf. They are a beautiful and stunning tribute to the work of this well known artist and bird lover.
These three sights with all the history that they have to offer makes for a bird watcher’s paradise. Being located in western Kentucky makes the bird watching from these sights some of the best in America. Stop by today for a visit and just maybe you will see a new species of bird and begin a whole new legacy of bird enthusiasm.
Source: Wikipedia, John James Audubon
Kentucky Parks Service