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image for Audubon paints the gray kingbird in the Florida Keys and Key West

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

 

 

 

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AUDUBON


INDIAN KEY
1832


CORMORANT


ROSEATE
TERN


GRAY
KINGBIRD


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EGRET


LOUISIANA
HERON


SANDY KEY


WHITE IBIS


WILLET

 
ZENAIDA
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WHITE
CROWNED
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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 Gray Kingbird

 

map of Florida Keys and Key West

April or May - Audubon paints the Pipery Flycatcher also known as the Gray Tyrant and Gray Kingbird


 

 

Gray Kingbird

 

This Gray Kingbird was painted in the Florida Keys in April or May of 1832. The Gray Kingbird sits on a branch of the Australian corkwood-tree which was added by Lehman in early May while in Key West.

 

Part of what Audubon writes in his Ornithological Biography, Volume. II, pages 392 to ,395 appears below:

 

Audubon wrote,

"The branch on which I represented a Male in full plumage, is that of a species rather rare on the Florida Keys, although as I was assured it abounds in Cuba. It blooms during the season when this bird builds its nest. The flower is destitute of secent; the fruit is a long narrow legume, containing numerous seeds, placed at equal distances."
Audubon painting of gray kingbird from 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  

 

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Click Here for information on the Gray Kingbird print

 

"Having landed on one of the Florida Keys, I scarcely had time to cast a glance over the diversified vegetation which presented itself, when I observed a pair of birds mounting perpendicularly in the air twittering with a shrill continued note new to me. The country itself was new: it was what my mind had a thousand times before conceived a tropical scene to be. As I walked over plants, curious and highly interesting to me, my sensations were joyous in the highest degree, for I saw that in a few moments I should possess a new on which I could look with delight, as one of the great Creator's marvelous works. "

"I was on one of those yet unknown islets, which the foot of man has seldom pressed. A Flycatcher unknown to me had already presented itself, and the cooing of a Dove never heard before came on my ear. I felt some of that pride, which doubtless pervades the breast of the discoverer of some hitherto unknown land. Although desirous of obtaining the birds before me, I had no wish to shoot them at that moment. My gun lay loosely in my arms, my eyes were riveted on the Flycatchers, my ears open to the soft notes of the Doves. Reader, such are the moments, amid days of toil and discomfort, that compensate for every privation. It is on such occasions that the traveler feels most convinced, that the farther he proceeds, the better will be his opportunities of observing the results of Devine conception. What else, I would ask of you, can be more gratifying to the human intellect"

 

   


Additional information about the gray kingbird 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/GRKI.htm

 

Additional information about the gray kingbird may be found by following this link to eNature.com

 

 

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