“The bird represented under the name of Bewick’s Wren I shot on the 19th October 1821, about five miles from St. Francisville, in the State of Louisiana.  It was standing as nearly as can be represented in the position in which you now see it, and upon the prostrate trunk of a tree not far from a fence.  My drawing of it was made on the spot.  Another individual was shot a few days after, by a young friend, Joseph R. Mason [see below], who accompanied me on my rambles.  In the month of November 1829, I had the pleasure of meeting with another of the same species, about fifteen miles from the place above mentioned . . . it moved along the bars of the fences, with its tail generally erect, looking from the bar on which it stood towards the one next above, and caught spiders and other insects, as it ran along from one panel of the fence to another in quick succession, now and then uttering a low twitter, the only sound which I heard it emit.  It occasionally hopped sideways, now with its head towards me, and again in the contrary direction . . . [etc.]

…I have honoured this species with the name of Bewick, a person too well known for his admirable talents as an engraver on wood, and for his beautiful work on the Birds of Great Britain, to need any eulogy of mine.”


Accompanied by a thirteen year old student of his, Joseph Mason, Audubon sailed on a flatboat from Cincinnati on October 12, 1820. Mason would grow to be one of Audubon’s most important associates in the making of the Birds of America. Of the four hundred and thirty-five paintings, Joseph Mason painted the floral backgrounds in over fifty

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