With the a new semester on the horizon, a new page of John James Audubon’s classic Birds of America is now on display in Linderman Library. Replacing plate 356, “Marsh Hawk,” is plate 383, “Long-eared Owl.” This plate features a male long-eared owl perched on a dead branch. The first plates of Birds of America were published in 1827, with Lehigh acquiring its volumes in 1884. Each plate was printed individually and colored by hand. The volumes were originally sold by subscription and fewer than 200 copies were ever produced.
Audubon describes the long-eared owl in his Ornithological Biography, “In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere to the eastward, I have found it perched on the top of a low bush or fir….it seems to squint at you in a most grotesque manner, although it is not difficult to approach very near it.”
If you would like to view the long-eared owl, or one of the many other birds drawn by Audubon, The University of Pittsburgh has digitized the book and made it available in its entirety.
Like it’s physical counterpart, Lehigh’s Audubon display is easy to approach, so stop by Linderman Library and take a look!
Audubon, J. J., Lizars, W. H. 1., & Havell, R. (1827). The birds of America: From original drawings. London: Pub. by the author.
Audubon, J. J. (1831). Ornithological biography: Or, An account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America ; accompanied by descriptions of the objects represented in the work entitled The birds of America, and interspersed with delineations of American scenery and manners. Philadelphia: J. Dobson [etc.].