Page:John James Audubon (Burroughs).djvu/39
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON
the tragedy awakened in him a lasting love for his feathered friends.
Audubon's father seems to have been the first to direct his attention to the study of birds, and to the observance of Nature generally. Through him he learned to notice the beautiful colourings and markings of the birds, to know their haunts, and to observe their change of plumage with the changing seasons; what he learned of their mysterious migrations fired his imagination.
He speaks of this early intimacy with Nature as a feeling which bordered on frenzy. Watching the growth of a bird from the egg he compares to the unfolding of a flower from the bud.
The pain which he felt in seeing the birds die and decay was very acute, but, fortunately, about this time some one showed him a book of illustrations, and henceforth "a new life ran in my veins," he says. To copy Nature was thereafter his one engrossing aim.