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John James Auden was born in France in 1785 yet emigrated to America in 1803 to avoid conscription to fight in the Napoleonic wars. Upon arrival to America his early love for birds was stimulated by the variety of species that he encountered. Displeased with how the birds had at present been documented, he set himself the task of capturing them in greater detail and with a greater level of realism as to how they existed in their environments. After years of struggle and several setbacks, notably time spent in a debtors jail and rats eating his entire collection of paintings, Auden published Birds of America in 1826. The work was an immediate success and confirmed Auden as both a talented painter and ornithologist, with the collection earning him a fellowship at Londons Royal Society. Birds of America continues to be enjoyed to this day and still considered one of the finest works in the field.
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