It’s been a busy summer here at Clark House Historian, with lots of research, writing, editing, and posting, and most of the essays illustrated with unique historical maps, documents, and images. And more Clark House history posts are queued up in draft form, awaiting final touches.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a short break, starting with a cool drink while watching the birds in the backyard. Here’s one frequent visitor to our house:
Havell, Robert, engraver, after John James Audubon, Yellow Bird or American Goldfinch, 1828, plate 33 from The Birds of America (1828-1838), hand-colored engraving and aquatint on Whatman wove paper. National Gallery of Art, Gift of Mrs. Walter B. James. Public domain. Click to open larger image in new window.
Yep, it’s the vibrantly yellow American Goldfinch, as observed, drawn and published by John James Audubon in 1828.
As we enjoy watching our 21st-century goldfinches, let’s give a tip of the hat to J. J. Audubon (1785-1851), one of the great artists and naturalists of Jonathan M. Clark’s—or any—era. The man really knew his birds. Almost two centuries after he drew them, Audubon’s finches remain accurate and lifelike. And he correctly noted their preferred food, thistles. Finches of all sorts are still crazy for thistle seed.
By the way…
Things are tough these days for birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Loss of habitat, drought, extreme heat, and the overuse of weedkillers and other pesticides have caused serious stresses on these animals throughout North America. Please do what you can to protect habitat and support these small but critical parts of our ecosystem.
Back soon with more Mequon history. Stay cool and be well.