Happy Birthday, Mr. Audubon

Happy Birthday, John James Audubon!  It is the 226th anniversary of his birth, today the 26th.

(Happy birthday also to my mother!)

This is the home page picture on Google today,

226th Birthday of John James Audubon

Several years ago when we were in New York visiting my grandparents, we went to the NY Historical Society, around the corner from my mother’s first apartment. Although the NYHS has the biggest collection of Audubon illustrations in the world, at the time they had hardly any on display, which was disappointing. Now they have a series of exhibits called “Audubon’s Aviary”.

When we were learning about early American history a few years ago (we home school), my mother read us the following children’s books about J.J. Audubon. They are all picture book biographies good for kids up to about age 10 or so (older if you are really interested in Audubon and birds),

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor

Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong, illustrated by Joseph A. Smith

Dover also has some nice, cheap activity books for kids:

Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book

Audubon Bird Stickers

Audubon Bird Seals (these would be nice on wrapping paper to gift wrap a bird book for your favorite birder!)

We also have a vintage out-of-print “double” book from the Dandelion Library for children, published by Grolier. On one side is “Audubon’s Birds” and the other side is “Audubon’s Animals”.  Very neat if you can find a copy.  I think my  mother found a bunch of these books at a garage sale when we were little.

Another one of my hobbies is stamp collecting, so I was excited to find these Audubon bird stamps.

I also like to listen to podcasts, here is a good one on Audubon’s Birds of America, from Yale University.

John Burroughs was an American naturalist.  He was born in 1837 and died in 1921.  In 1902, he wrote a biography of John James Audubon. You can find the book at Project Gutenberg, and it is also available as a free audiobook at LibriVox.

Here is a nice catalogue of Mr. Audubon’s “Birds of America”.

We don’t get PBS (we have only two TV channels and both are Canadian) and the DVD isn’t available any more, but one day I would like to watch the American Masters documentary about JJ Audubon, “Drawn from Nature”.  Here is a preview I think, and here is the web page. Maybe some stations will show it again today for his birthday!

Last, here is a quotation from him: “As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature.”

Happy Easter

I had a wonderful Easter and I hope you did too. Here are some scenes for my Easter,

Some of the early spring crocuses,

As close to the Easter rabbit as I can get. My rabbit, Claude,


The very nice marbleized Easter eggs (my mother got the beautiful handmade runner at Etsy here),

Our decorated easter table,

Chick and rabbit candy holders, but instead of fabric, I used paper,

The egg bunting I made (again, instead of fabric, I used paper since that’s what I had),

Quilling Birds

As well as my passion for birds, I also have one for quilling, and the two are easily combined. Quilling is a paper craft where you make pictures out of rolled lengths of paper.

For example, I made this chickadee  for my father’s birthday last month:

The start of a wren I am working on now,

The finished bird, just waiting for the rest of the card,

The completed card,

I first started quilling about three years ago, my mother gave a page a day quilling calendar, which started me on my way.  It was lots of fun, and soon I decided I wanted to learn more.  The first bird I made was a wren and the next one was a chickadee. I am hoping to make different kinds of birds including bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals, and more wrens. I will be sure to post any more quilled birds I make!

Since the calendar I first used isn’t available any more, here’s a list of some of my favorite quilling resources:

Quilled Creations: supplies in the U.S. (they ship to Canada, too)

Paper Quilling: supplies in New Brunswick, Canada

My brothers and I like lots of Klutz kits (and my mother likes to buy them for friends’ and cousins’ birthdays), and I was happy to find out they have a quilling kit, which is great for kids, Twirled Paper: Make Almost Anything With Simple Paper Strips by Jacqueline Lee; you can also buy extra packs of more paper.

The Art of Paper Quilling: Designing Handcrafted Gifts and Cards by Claire Sun-ok Choi

The Book of Paper Quilling: Techniques & Projects for Paper Filigree by Malinda Johnston

(this is on sale now at Amazon.com and very good)

I also have another bird-related craft I made last year, perfect for Spring, which I will post about soon!

Roadside Birds

Horned Larks had been on my “to see” list and I tried really hard to find them. Then, I discovered them about a month ago by the side of the road on the way to town and didn’t realize that they were right under my nose.  I even found four of them at our corrals.

A few days ago, I was able to get close enough to one lark to take half a dozen decent pictures,

I was able to get pretty close to this bird on my bike,