This Day in History: 1785-04-26

John James Audubon (1785 – 1851) was born on this day.
He was a US ornithologist, naturalist, and painter; he had the goal of finding and painting all the birds of North America for publication. Audobon is best known for his The Birds of America (1827-39), considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. He described 25 new species and had a far reaching influence on ornithology and natural history.

Whilst ichthyologist Rafinesque was a guest of Audubon he noticed a bat in his room and, thinking it a new species, grabbed Audubon’s favourite violin in an effort to knock it down, resulting in the destruction of the violin. Audubon took revenge by describing fictitious fishes to Rafinesque who went on to record them in his Ichthyologia Ohiensis (1820).