This readable account focuses on a short period in the famous naturalist's youth. Audubon, who was born and raised in France, was sent to America at age 18 to avoid service in Napoleon's army.
Living in his father's farmhouse in Pennsylvania, he roamed the countryside and observed nature. His interest in birds and their migration habits led him to watch a family of pewee flycatchers (Eastern Phoebes) that nested in a limestone cave nearby. In order to determine whether the same creatures returned each year, he banded the young birds with silver thread before they flew south in autumn, providing a means of identification when they returned in spring. Davies relates how the self-taught painter and ornithologist combined his artistic talent and keen skills of observation to produce detailed, life-sized portraits of birds "alive and moving."
Sweet's extensive research is evident in her carefully crafted, mixed-media artwork, which includes photos of found objects, re-created pages from a nature sketchbook, maps, and watercolor paintings of young Audubon in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside.
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