From Audubon’s journal, July 1, 1821:

“I found this bird about three miles from St. Francisville in Louisiana, whilst engaged in searching for a Turkey, which I had wounded.  It was afternoon, and the heat oppressive.  I saw it innocently approaching us until within a few yards, anxiously looking, as if trying to discover our intentions; but as we stood motionless, it once came so near that I could easily have reached it with my gun barrel.  It moved nimbly among the twigs of the low bushes, making now and then short dashes at flies, which it swallowed after killing them under foot, as many other Fly-catchers are in the habit of doing, then peeping at us, and again setting off in pursuit of flies.”

The “Selby” in the bird’s name refers to Prideaux John Selby (1788-1867), a British ornithologist whom Audubon had met during his time in England.  Not only do we own Selby’s large folio volumes of Illustrations Of British Ornithology, last year we acquired two original copper plates which were used to illustrate them.

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