Rice Bird by John James Audubon art print

Brandywine General Store

SKU: 54 audubon

An archival premium Quality art Print of the Rice Bird by John James Audubon for sale by Brandywine General Store. In this painting Mr. Audubon shows a male and female pair of rice birds setting in branches of a red maple tree. These small birds were plate or picture number 54 in the first Havell edition of Audubon's great ornithology book, The Birds of America. Icterus Agripennis - The description of these birds from the book is as follows "Very few of these birds pass through Louisiana in spring, and still fewer, on their return, in autumn; for which reason I am inclined to think that they do not spend the winter months so much in the southern parts of America as in some of the West India Islands. Indeed, I am the more inclined to believe this to be the case, as they seldom penetrate far into the interior, during their stay with us, but prefer the districts bordering upon the Atlantic, through which they pass and repass in incredible numbers. In Louisiana, small detached flocks of males or of females appear about the middle of March and beginning of April, alighting in the meadows and grain-fields, where they pick up the grubs and insects found about the roots of the blades. I have heard it asserted, though I cannot give it as a fact, that the appearance of the Rice-bird in spring forebodes a bad harvest. The idea probably originates from the circumstance that these birds do not pass through Louisiana regularly every year, there being sometimes three or four springs in succession in which they are not observed. The plumage of many of the males at this early season still resembles that of the females, but it changes in the course of their stay, which is seldom more than a fortnight. I have ascertained this fact by dissecting many at this period, when, notwithstanding the dull colour of their plumage, I found the sexual organs greatly developed, which is not the case in autumn, even in the old males. I had another clew to the discovery of this fact. No sooner did a flock of females make its appearance, than these dull-looking gentlemen immediately paid them such particular attention, and sang so vehemently, that the fact of their being of a different sex became undeniable. Here they pass under the name of Meadow-birds. In Pennsylvania they are called Reed-birds, in Carolina Rice Buntings, and in the State of New York Boblinks. Great numbers are captured and exposed for sale in the markets, particularly in those of the city of New York. They are caught in trap-cages, and feed and sing almost immediately after. Many are carried to Europe, where the shipper is often disappointed in his profits, as by the time they reach there, the birds have changed their colours and seem all females..." Audubon Birds art print #54

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