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For the birds and too beautiful for us to ignore

This month, the National Audubon Society released its new website and it will make a bird lover out of just about anyone.

The site is a true treasure trove of beauty and resources for formal and informal learning.

Its centerpiece, Audobon’s classic Guide to North American Birds, now includes text from Kenn Kaufman and illustrations from David Allen Sibley.

The e-book, compiled and enhanced by Richard Buonanno, includes Audubon’s complete seven- volume text, his images and original descriptions, drawings of some species’ anatomical features, a list of species that have gone extinct since Audubon’s time, and a list of State Birds.  (And it looks equally gorgeous in app form!)

But there’s more.

High-resolution downloads of the book’s hand-engraved plates are available for free download.

The website shares:

John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-sized watercolours of North American birds, all made from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration. Nearly 200 years later, the Audubon prints are coming to life once again, thanks to our vibrant digital library. Roam around . . . and enjoy one of the most treasured pieces of Audubon’s grand and wild legacy.

Include this in your virtual reference collection.  Share it with young citizen scientists and environmentalists, as well teachers of science (especially environmental studies), and history and art.  Tell your birder friends.  Photographers will be interested in both the fabulous tutorials and the contests.  Parents will enjoy participating in the suggested outdoorsy activities with their children.