Painted Finch Fine Art Bird Print by John James Audubon

Brandywine General Store

SKU: 53 audubon

An archival premium Quality Art Print of the Painted Finch by John James Audubon for sale by Brandywine General Store. The artwork features one of Audubon's more colorful grouping of birds, showing a flock of the Painted Finch or also known as Buntings. There are two old males, a one year old male, a two year old male and a female. All are setting in a Chickasaw Wild Plum Tree. The two old males seem to be talking to each other, while the others look like they are busy gathering material for their nests. These small songbirds were picture or plate number 53 in the first Havell Edition of Audubons great ornithology masterpiece, The Birds of America. Mr Audubon describes these very colorful birds thus "About the middle of April, the orange groves of the lower parts of Louisiana, and more especially those in the immediate vicinity of the City of New Orleans, are abundantly supplied with this beautiful little Finch. But no sooner does it make its appearance than trap-cages are set, and a regular business is commenced in the market of that city. The method employed in securing the male Painted Finch is so connected with its pugnacious habits, that I feel inclined to describe it, especially as it is so different from the common way of alluring birds, that it may afford you, kind reader, some amusement. A male bird in full plumage is shot and stuffed in a defensive attitude, and perched among some grass-seed, rice, or other food, on the same platform as the trap-cage. This is taken to the fields or near the orangeries, and placed in so open a situation, that it would be difficult for a living bird of any species to fly over it, without observing it. The trap is set. A male Painted Finch passes, perceives it, and dives towards the stuffed bird, with all the anger which its little breast can contain. It alights on the edge of the trap for a moment, and throwing its body against the stuffed bird, brings down the trap, and is made prisoner. In this manner, thousands of these birds are caught every spring. So pertinacious are they in their attacks, that even when the trap has closed upon them, they continue pecking at the feathers of the supposed rival. The approach of man seems to allay its anger in a moment. The live bird is removed to the lower apartment of the cage, and is thereby made to assist in decoying others. They feed almost immediately after being caught; and if able to support the loss of liberty for a few days, may be kept for several years. I have known some instances of their being kept in confinement for upwards of ten years. Few vessels leave the port of New Orleans during the summer months, without taking some Painted Finches, and through this means they are transported probably to all parts of Europe. I have seen them offered for sale in London and Paris, with the trifling difference of value on each individual, which converted the sixpence paid for it at New Orleans to three guineas in London. The pugnacious habits of this species are common in a great degree to the whole family of Sparrows. Like the most daring, the Common House Sparrow of Europe, they may be observed in spring time, in little groups of four, five or six, fighting together, moving round each other to secure an advantageous position, pecking and pulling at each other's feathers with all the violence and animosity to which their small degree of strength can give effect. A group thus occupied I have attempted to represent in the plate. I have at the same time endeavoured to save you the trouble of reading a long description of the changes which take place in their plumage, from the time at which the young leave the nest, until the second year following, when the males attain the full beauty of their brilliant livery. The flight of the Pape, by which name the Creoles of Louisiana know this bird best, is short, although regular, and performed by a nearly constant motion of the wings, which is rendered necessary by their concave form....." Audubon Bird print #53


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