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image for Audubon paints the Cayennne Tern in Florida Keys and Key West

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John Audubon paints the Cayenne tern

 

map of Florida keys and Key West

 

May 1832 - Cayenne Tern


 

 

Cayenne Tern (Royal Tern)
Audubon's painting of cayenne tern in Birds of America

 

Above image from Historical Museum of Southern Florida - Audubon images at the Historical Museum website were produced from prints of an original Elephant Folio belonging to the museum. http://www.historical-museum.org/collect/audubon/audubon.htm) See Audubon House  

 

The Cayene tern [ Royal tern] was painted in the Florida Keys in May 1832.

Part of what Audubon writes in his Ornithological Biography, Volume. III, pages 505 to 509 appears below:

 

"On reaching the entrance of the little port of St. Augustine in east Florida, I observed more Cayenne terns together than I had ever before seen. I had afterwards good opportunities of watching them both during that season and the following, about the Keys. their shyness surprised me not a little, especially as they are very seldom molested, and it was such that I had to study their habits only with the aid of a good glass [telescope]. . . . My attempts to procure some of them were always futile, for they flew off when I was yet several hundred yards distant, and moved directly towards the sea. It was pleasing to see the whole of these birds take to wing at the same moment, the jetty hue of the Shearwaters contrasting with the pale blue of the Terns, and the brilliant-coloured bills of both species, their different modes of flight, and their various evolutions presenting a most agreeable sight."

"On the 11th May 1832, I found the Cayenne Terns breeding on one of the Tortugas. There that had dropped their eggs on the bare sand, a few yards above high-water mark, and none of the birds paid much attention to them during the heat of the day. "

 " The figure of the [Spider] Crab in the plate was introduced on account of its singularly bright red colour, which, when the animal is boiled, changes to pale yellow. It is rather common along the rocky shores of some of the Florida Keys, and is excellent eating."

 


Additional information about the cayenne or "royal tern" may be found by following the link below to the Florida Breeding Bird Atlas. The Atlas, a collaborative effort of Audubon of Florida, the Florida Ornithological Society, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission provides information of general status, habitat, and status of  breeding species in Florida.

http://wildflorida.org/bba/ROTE.htm

Additional information about the cayenne or "royal tern" may be found by following this link to eNature.com

 

 

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