Download hi-rez scans of all 435 illustrations from John James Audubon's Birds of America

Originally published at:


Gosh, they’re beautiful.


Beautiful plumage…


Was about to post this link to my work Slack, but that permalink URL…
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Agreed! Shows what an artist can do with water-color.

(Just wondering what JJA would have felt painting these if he’d known that five of the birds he rendered would be extinct by today.)

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These are amazing to have out there! Sounds like they could be at their original size?

If you don’t know about Audubon beyond the name, I can recommend Richard Rhodes’s biography as a very interesting portrait of Audubon as well as the US at that time. Audubon’s father had him emigrate to the US to basically avoid being drafted into the French military. He married an American, and traveled around the US of the early 1800s, trying to find a career. When he found his mission of painting and describing birds, he developed a system for the paintings: He shot every bird he painted, and posed their corpses in positions as he had seen in life, also adding plants and landscapes as backgrounds to speak to the birds’ identities and habits. He and his wife both sought subscriptions for the books of illustrations, and after his death she continued to promote and protect his work:

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Back in the day, I worked for a company that created a Birds of America CD-ROM, complete with low-res (640x480) scans of those illustrations, the text of the books, and 45 minutes of bird calls from the Audubon Society.
If you’re listening to the bird calls, don’t forget to check out the Ruffed Grouse.


Yes! I bought these years ago and gave a set to my Mom, who got me into birding many years ago (although I’m not quite as avid as she is). Good work and know that your work had a great impact.

Scanned-in avians.

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