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image for Audubon paints the Louisiana heron in the Florida Keys and Key West

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

 

 

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AUDUBON IN THE FLORIDA KEYS


 

 

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
KEY WEST


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 Louisiana Heron

map of the Florida Keys and Key West

 

April 29 , 1832 - Beautiful Key in the Floridas

May 19, 1832 - Keys near Key West


 

 Audubon painting of Louisiana Heron from Birds of America

 

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Click Here for information on 27.5" x 18.8" Louisiana Heron print

 

Audubon writes in his Ornithological Biography, Volume III of seeing the Louisiana Heron  in Florida. In the spring he comments that it is abundant in the Carolinas, and at times seen as far east as Maryland. Portions of his observations about the Louisiana Heron residence in the Florida Keys appear below:

 

"This species, which is a constant resident in the southern parts of the peninsula of the Floridas, seldom rambles far from its haunts during the winter season, being rarely seen at that period beyond the Savanah in Georgia to the eastward. To the west it extends to the sedgy flats bordering the mouths of the Mississippi, along the whole Gulf of Mexico, and perhaps much farther south. . . . It is at all seasons a social bird, moving about in company with the Blue heron or the White Egret. . . "

April 29 , 1832 - Beautiful Key in the Floridas

"On the 29th of April, while wading around a beautiful key of the Floridas, in search of certain crustaceous animal Florida lobster) called the sea Crayfish, my party and I suddenly came upon one of the breeding places of the Louisiana Heron. The southern exposures of this lovely island were overgrown with low trees and bushes matted together by thousands of smilaxes and other creeping plants, supported by species of cactus. Among the branches some hundreds of pairs of these lovely birds had placed their nests, which were so low and so close to each other, that without moving a step one could put his hand in several. the birds thus taken by surprise rose affrighted into the air, bitterly complaining of being disturbed in their secluded retreat. . . . Observing that many eggs had been destroyed by the Crows and Buzzards, as the shells were scattered on the ground, I concluded that many of the herons had laid more than once, to make their full complement of eggs; . . . The little island of which I have spoken lies exposed to the sea, and has an extent of only a few acres. The trees and bushes within which it is covered seemed to have been stunted by the effect produced by their having been for years the receptacles of the Herons' nests."

May 19, 1832

"On the 19th of May, in the same year, I found another breeding place of this species not far from Key West. The young birds, which stood on all the branches of the trees and bushes on the southern side of the place, were about the size of our Little Partridge. Their notes, by which we had been attracted to the spot, were extremely plaintive and resembled the syllables, wiee, wiee, wiee.. When we went up to them. The old birds all flew off to another key, as if intent on drawing us there; but in vain, for we took with us a good number of the young. . . .

May 24, 1832

On the 24th of May, these Herons were able to fly a short distance. In this state we had difficulty procuring one alive. . . Many were caught afterwards and taken as passengers on board the Marion. They fed on garbage thrown to them by the sailors; but whenever another species came near them, they leaped towards its bill, caught hold of it as if it had been a fish, and hung on to it until shaken off by their stronger associates. On several occasions, however the Ardea occidentalis (the Great White Heron) shook them off violently, and after beating them on the deck, swallowed them before they could be rescued!"

 

 

 

 

 


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