Annual Audubon Day Slated for Nov. 21

Issue Date: 
November 17, 2014

Bartram Sandpiper

Pitt’s University Library System will hold its Annual Audubon Day on Nov. 21, displaying more than 24 prints of vivid life-sized paintings of many North American birds from John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The Library System owns one of the rare unbroken sets of these famous prints.

The public is invited to visit the free display from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in Room 363 of Hillman Library. 

Many people are familiar with Audubon’s work because they have seen his paintings of birds in publications or on greeting cards or calendars. With his four-volume set, Birds of America (1827-1838), Audubon revolutionized bird illustration by depicting birds as life sized in their natural environment, many of them interacting with other birds and wildlife, often in predatory ways.  

This year’s Audubon Day will examine the history of the passenger pigeon, which was once the most abundant bird in North America, numbering in the billions. One hundred years ago, the last surviving passenger pigeon died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. 

American Passenger Pigeon

From 10 to 11 a.m. in the Amy Knapp Room on Hillman Library’s ground floor, Chris Kubiak, development associate of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, will discuss the passenger pigeon’s history and its complex interactions with humans. Kubiak will also discuss the causes and consequences of the bird’s extinction as well as the controversial effort to revive the species through cloning.

The Nov. 21 display will include an 1824 print of a passenger pigeon—believed to be the only bird Audubon painted in Pittsburgh. 

For more information about Pitt’s Annual Audubon Day, call 412-648-8199.