Download gorgeous high resolution images of Audubon's Birds of America for free.
The Audubon Society's digital library has made all 435 plates from wildlife artist John J. Audubon's book "The Birds of America" available as free, high resolution downloads. These are outstanding illustrations created by Audubon from 1827 to 1838 while he was exploring the USA.
The birds are listed alphabetically but you can also sort birds by name, by chronology, or by state bird (keep in mind some states weren't in existence when these illustrations were created).
To download images, the sites ask you to supply a name, email address and zip code which signs you up for the Audubon monthly newsletter, Wingspan. I didn't find a way around that, so you'll have to unsubscribe from the newsletter when it comes if you prefer not to receive it. You can download as many images as you'd like after you've signed up until the browser cookies are deleted or expire.
Clicking on an entry for a bird brings Audubon's descriptive commentary and bird descriptions, a link to download the high resolution file, the option to view the full plate in a pop up window, and a link to the Bird Guide that has current information on bird species, habits, habitat, and audio of bird calls (where audio is available, not all the birds have audio, and some species are now extinct).
To get to the download link for each bird you need to scroll down the page a bit until the information appears.You can see the full image (plate) or download the high resolution file. Looking at the full plate loads a pop up window, where you can enlarge, reduce, or view the image full screen. You can get some nice, clear detail by using the enlarge function.
The page itself takes a while to load on a somewhat slow connection, and there are duplicate entries for some birds. All the duplicate entries I clicked on had the same plate numbers and looked the same to me.
The downloaded images are large and would make nice posters and other kinds of printable objects. They also make nice looking desktop wallpaper backgrounds. To give you an idea of the size of the downloaded files, the two illustrations I downloaded are 10974 x 6472 px (Louisiana Heron) and 11522 x 6795 px (Scarlet Ibis, shown above).
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