IN 1803, a young Frenchman landed in America because he didn't want to be forcibly recruited into Napoleon Bonaparte's army. His father owned a farm in Pennsylvania and his job was to oversee it.
Jean-Jacques Audubon (he later changed it to John James) was enchanted with the verdant woodland surrounding his new home. He would roam the wilds armed with paper and drawing instruments.
The young naturalist had set himself the monumental task of painting every bird species in his adopted country. These he would depict in their natural surroundings, preening, nesting, raising their young, all captured in the minutest detail.
The result was his magnum opus, The Birds of America, which documents 60% of American birdlife.