by John James
Hand-colored aquatint/engraving on paper 97.2 x 64.2 cm
Early in his quest to see and paint all North American birds, Audubon voyaged
down the Mississippi on a flatboat. In one day of this trip, he shot five Bald
Eagles, a normal practice for Audubon when he was collecting specimens to serve
his detailed studies of plumage for his art. He was devoted to and charmed by
birds but thought nothing of taking them for study, food, and sport. A century
and a half ago, Bald Eagles were much more common than today.