We greatly admire people working towards conservation activities and this factors into our celebrations of Audubon Day on April 26 each year. Held to commemorate the birth of John James Audubon, a brilliant illustrator, conservationist, ornithologist, and naturalist, this day also recognizes the crucial work done by The National Audubon Society.
When is Audubon Day 2024?
John James Audubon’s brilliant work and legacy are celebrated on Audubon Day on April 26.
History of Audubon Day
This day is celebrated in honor of (and marks the birth of) John James Audubon, a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter who was well-known for his extensive studies on American birds and their habitats. Born in Saint Domingue (now Haiti), Audubon was raised in France by his father and stepmother. He began studying and drawing birds after moving to America, continuing to do so even as he moved to Kentucky with his wife, Lucy. He began delving deeper into his hobby of bird illustrations after the store that he owned went bankrupt, even sailing down the Mississippi River on a flatboat to find new birds to paint. He was so successful that he took his work to England and published it there. This work, Audubon’s greatest work, “The Birds of America,” is now widely considered as one of the most noteworthy examples of wildlife illustration. It set the tone for future wildlife illustrations; even today, artists are measured against this book’s standards.
Years after Audubon’s death on January 27, 1851, one of Audubon’s wife’s students, George Bird Grinnell, went on to co-found the National Audubon Society in John Audubon’s memory. This society promotes and protects the habitats that support the world’s birds, and also sponsors National Audubon Day. Located in the United States, this society is one of the oldest such organizations in the world. Today, there are many branches of the National Audubon Society all over the U.S., connecting John Audubon’s name to bird conservation forever.
Audubon Day timeline
Audubon arrives at his family estate in Pennsylvania, America, where he studies and draws birds.
Audubon floats down the Mississippi River on a flatboat so he can paint new species of birds.
Audubon's exceptional work is published during this period, containing more than 700 North American bird species with 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species.
A student of Audubon's wife, Lucy, establishes the first Audubon Society to protect birds and their habitats.
Audubon Day FAQs
Is Audubon reliable?
The National Audubon Society emphasizes science as their basis for sound policy and action, which shows they are reliable and effective.
What is the bird society called?
National Audubon Society. Their official website states, “The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. We protect birds and the places they need.”
Who helped found the Audubon Society?
John Muir, George Bird Grinnell, T. Gilbert Pearson, are the founders of the National Audubon Society.
How To Celebrate Audubon Day
Go bird watching
Bird watching is a very fun pastime enjoyed by around 45 million people, as per data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Step outside for a quick (and safe) walk and observe the birds around you. You can look up details of birds you don’t recognize on the Audubon website. You can even take the fun one step further by learning about their names, habitats, and migration patterns.
Create your own bird-friendly space
Have some space in your backyard? Go ahead and design your own bird-friendly locale with native shrubs, trees, pedestal birdbaths, and more. You can hang bird feeders that you've created from plastic bottles, coffee cans, or even milk jugs for a better environmental impact. If you want to try your hand at more professional-type bird feeders, there are various woodworking tutorials online for making such feeders.
Draw, paint, and sketch birds
By all accounts, John Audubon loved illustrating birds. Take a feather out of his book and immortalize your neighborhood birds too. Grab a pencil and notebook and head to your bird-friendly backyard to draw the birds you see. Add in pops of color using paint or colored crayons.
Fun Facts About Audubon Day
Audubon introduced the concept of bird banding to Americas
The process of attaching a small tag to the wing of wild birds to make identification easier was first introduced by Audubon in North America.
His book is worth A LOT!
In 2010, the first edition of Audubon's book, “The Birds of America,” sold in London for a whopping $11 million.
Audubon was an exceptional taxidermist.
So he could sketch birds, then, if they died, prepare, stuff, and mount them too.
You might recognize a particular student of his
Famous naturalist, geologist, and biologist Charles Darwin sat in on one of Audubon's demonstrations of his methods, as a student.
Audubon made his money selling animal skins.
A noted hunter, Audubon's practice of selling animal skins was his primary source of income for much of his life and even funded the printing of his book, “The Birds of America.”
Why We Love Audubon Day
It brings us closer to nature
Many of us live in concrete jungles where the only brush of nature is a faraway tree, a kitchen garden, or a small shrub. Observing Audubon day brings us closer to nature and to what it means to be human in this world.
We can give back to the environment
The climate crisis reminds us that most of us aren't that mindful when it comes to nature or conservation. Perhaps learning about Audubon's conservation attempts and the Audubon Society's efforts to study and help birds and their habitat will inspire us to make more hands-on contributions, starting by simply being more bird-friendly.
We make some feathered friends
Who says no to making more friends? Only this time, we're making friends with some feathered buddies. All our conservation attempts, creating bird-friendly spaces, and even simply increasing our awareness bring us one step closer to making birdie friends and embracing Mother Nature.
Audubon Day dates