Audubon paints the Key West Pigeon
aka (Key West Quail Dove)
1832 - Arrives Key West , Audubon spends the next 17 days
in Key West and surrounding waters with trip to the Dry
Quail Dove (Key West Pigeon)
image from Historical Museum of Southern
- Audubon images at the
Museum website were
produced from prints of an original Elephant Folio
belonging to the museum.
Here for information on a 17" x 24" Key West Dove
plants represented in this plate grew on Key West, in
sheltered situations. That with the purple flower is a
Convolvulus, the other an Ipomaea. The blossoms are
partially closed at night, and although ornamental, are
destitute of odour."
Convolvulvus as well as an Ipomaea is a trailing,
twining, or viney plant with showy leaves and
trumpet-shaped flowers such as a morning glory. The
purple flower drawn by Audubon's assistant Lehman in the
painting of the Key West Pigeon is the railroad vine and
the white flower is the rubber vine.
1832 - Audubon arrives at Key West in the evening of May
4th, and paints the Key West Quail Dove [ Key West
Pigeon] around May 6, 1832.
some of his comments from Volume II, pages 382-386 of
Audubon's Ornithological Biography.
was in Key West that I first saw this beautiful bird.
The Marion was brought to anchor close to, and nearly
opposite, the little town of the same name, some time
after the setting of the sun. The few flickering
lights I saw fixed the size of the place in my
imagination. In a trice, the kind captain and I were
seated in his gig, and I felt the forward motion of
the light bark as if actually on a wing, so well timed
was the pulling of the brave tars who were taking us
to the shore. In this place I formed acquaintance with
Major Glassel of the United states Artillery, and his
family, of Dr. Benjamin Strobel, and several other
persons to whom I must ever feel grateful for the kind
attention which they paid to me and my assistants, as
well as for the alacrity with which they aided me in
procuring rare specimens not only of birds, but also
of shells and plants, most of which were unknown to
me." . . . .
Glassel sent one of his serjeants with me to search
the whole island ..."
On May 6,
1832 while exploring the island of Key West with Audubon,
Sergeant Sykes shot a Key West Pigeon. Audubon
how I looked at this lovely bird! I handled it, turned
it, examined its feathers and form, its bill, its legs
and claws, weighed it by estimate, and after a while
formed a winding sheet for it of a piece of
we sat near the shore gazing on the curious light
pea-green colour of the sea, I unfolded my prize, and
as I now quietly observed the brilliantly changing
metallic hues of its plumage, I could not refrain from
exclaiming - "But who will draw it?" for the obvious
difficulties of copying nature struck me a powerfully
as they ever had done, . . . . "
have taken upon myself to name this species the Key
West Pigeon, and offer it as a tribute to the generous
inhabitants of that island, who favored me with their
friendship. . . . "
the middle of July they become sufficiently abundant
at Key west, to enable sportsmen to shoot as many as a
score in a day; for, as soon as the young are able to
follow their parents, they frequently resort to the
roads to dust themselves, and are then easily
approached. Dr. Strobel told me he had procured more
than a dozen of these birds in the course of a
morning, and assured me that they were excellent
the time of Audubon's visit, the Key West Dove or pigeon
migrated between Cuba and the Florida Keys. Seeing a Key
West Pigeon today in the Florida Keys is a