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

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1832


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John Audubon observes the Sandwich Tern

 

map of Florida Keys and Key West

May 26, 1832 - Sandwich Tern

 


 

Sandwich Tern
Audubon painting of Sandwich Tern 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  

 

Audubon painted the Sandwich Tern in the Keys on May 26, 1832.

Portions of what Audubon wrote in his Ornithological Biography, Volume III, page 531 to 553 are provided below:

 

"On the 26th of May 1832, while sailing along the Florida Keys in Mr. Thurston's barge, accompanied by his worthy pilot and my assistant, I observed a flock of terns, which from their size and other circumstances, I would have pronounced to be marsh terns, had not the difference in their manner of flight convinced me that they were of a species hitherto unknown to me. The pleasure which one feels on such an occasion cannot easily be described, and . . . I begged to be rowed to them as quickly as possible. . . . On examining the first individual picked up from the water, I perceived from the yellow point of its bill that it was different from any that I had previously seen, and accordingly shouted "A prize ! a prize ! a new bird to the American fauna. And so it was, good reader, for no person before had found the Sandwich tern on any part of our coast. . . ."

 

". . . On asking the Wreckers if they had been in the habit of seeing these birds, they answered in the affirmative, and added that they paid them pretty frequent visits during the breeding season, on account of their eggs as well as of the young, which, when nearly able to fly, they said were also good eating. According to their account, this species spends the whole winter near and upon the keys, and the young keep separate from the old birds."

 

 


 Additional information about the sandwich 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/SATE.htm

 

 Additional information about the sandwich tern may be found by following this link to eNature.com

 

 

 


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