John James Audubon, naturalist and artist famous for his drawings and paintings of North American birds, died on January 27, 1851, in New York City. He was sixty-five years old.
Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Saint-Domingue, now Haiti. Audubon's mother died shortly after his birth and while still a young child, he and his half-sister went to live at their father's home in Le Port Launay de Couëron, France. Encouraged by his father's wife, Audubon pursued his interest in drawing birds native to the wetlands near his childhood home on the Loire River estuary.
At eighteen, Audubon immigrated to the United States to avoid military conscription and to manage a plantation near Philadelphia. For the next two decades, he made several unsuccessful business ventures. Encouraged by his wife, Lucy, he continued drawing birds. His fascination with birds eventually inspired him to journey as far south as the Florida Keys and as far north as Labrador, Canada. From 1810 to 1819, the family lived in Henderson, Kentucky, a town located along the Mississippi flyway, an important migratory route for birds.