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image for Audubon paints the Black-headed gull in Florida Keys and Key West

A Guide to John Audubon's visit to the Florida Keys 

 

 

 

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INDEX

  
AUDUBON


INDIAN KEY
1832


CORMORANT


ROSEATE
TERN


GRAY
KINGBIRD


REDDISH
EGRET


LOUISIANA
HERON


SANDY KEY


WHITE IBIS


WILLET

 
ZENAIDA
DOVE


WHITE
CROWNED
PIGEON


THE AUDUBON HOUSE IN
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AUDUBON'S
KEY WEST


KEY WEST AFTER
AUDUBON


ROSEATE
SPOONBILL


GREAT
WHITE
HERON


GREAT
BLUE
HERON


KEY WEST
DOVE


FLAMINGOS


BLUE-
HEADED
QUAIL DOVE


FRIGATE BIRD


BROWN
PELICAN


MANGROVE
CUCKOO


TORTUGAS


SOOTY
TERN


BLACK
HEADED GULL


BROWN
NODDY


CAYENNE
TERN


BROWN
BOOBY


SANDWICH
TERN


NIGHT
HERON


GREENSHANK


GREAT
MARBLED
GODWIT


MANGO
HUMMING-
BIRD


TROPIC
BIRD




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John Audubon observes the Black-headed Gull

 

map of Florida and Key West

May 10 , 1832 - While visiting the Tortugas Audubon views the Laughing Gull or Black-headed Gull.


 . Audubon's painting of black-headed gull in Birds of America
 

Audubon writes extensively about the Black-headed Gull or Laughing Gull in his Ornithological Biography, Volume IV. The bird was not new to Audubon as its territory extends up and down the East Coast of the United States.

A small part of what Audubon has written is provided below:

 

"The Black-headed Gull may be said to be a constant resident along the southern coast of the United States, from South Carolina to the sabine river; and I have found it abundant over all that extent both in winter and summer, but more especially on the shores and keys of the floridas, where I found it breeding, as well as on some islands of the Bay of Galveston Texas. A very great number of these birds however remove, at the approach of spring, towards the middle and Eastern Districts, along the shores of which they breed in considerable numbers, particularly on those of new jersey and Long Island, as well as several islands in the Sound. They constantly evince a dislike to rocky shores, and therefore are seldom seen beyond Massachusetts, in which State indeed they are exceedingly rare."

"On the 10th of May 1832, it was my good fortune to be snugly on board the "Lady of Green Mantle," or in other words, the fine revenue cutter Marion. The Gulls that laughed whilst our anchors were swiftly descending towards the marvelous productions of the deep, soon had occasion to be sorrowful enough. As they were in great number, officers and men, as well as the American Woodsman, gazing upon them from the high decks of the gallant bark, had simple opportunity for observing their motions. they were al busily engaged on wing, hovering here and there around the Brown Pelicans, intent on watching their plunges into the water, and all clamorously teasing their best benefactors. As with broadly extended pouch and lower mandible, the pelican went down headlong, so gracefully followed the gay rosy-breasted Gull, which, on the brown bird's emerging, alighted nimbly on its very head, and with a gentle stoop instantly snatched from the mouth of the purveyor the glittering fry that moment entrapped.

Is this not quite strange,Reader? Aye, truly it is. The sight of these maneuvers rendered me almost frantic with delight. . . . And now, Reader, I will conclude this long article with some fragments from my journals."

"Tortugas, May 1832. - Whilts here, I often saw the Black-headed Gull of Wilson, sucking eggs of Sterna fuliginosa (Sooty tern), and Sterna stolida (Noddy Tern). Our sailors assured me that these gulls also eat the young of these two species of Terns when newly hatched."

 

 


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