John James Audubon
If you like tropical birds, visit the Florida Keys and imagine seeing it the way John James Audubon (1785-1851) did. Born in the country now known as Haiti, he became the quintessential author and illustrator of books on birds, notably A Synopsis of Birds in North America, which you can find at www.gutenberg.org.
His illustrations beautifully unfold magnificent colors and vivid details on the birds of the Keys. Our link does not include his illustrations but they can be found through most any public library or online here: https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america.
Read a short biography of the 19th century naturalist, ornithologist, and painter here: https://www.biography.com/scientist/john-james-audubon. You can also check out the Kentucky and Texas pages of authoradventures.org to learn more about Audubon.
Some things have changed since the “Olde Florida” days in the Keys (a.k.a. “The Conch Republic”) and some things, like its underwater wonders, remain pretty much the same.
If you go, try using the keysaudubon.org/where-to map and follow John James Audubon’s footsteps around the Florida Keys. (He traveled to Sandy Key the most often.)
On the long drive down, passengers can watch The Big Year. It’s a bird-centric comedy with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. It is family-friendly if you don’t mind occasional “fowl” language.
In addition to bird-watching, people visit the Keys for many reasons. We enjoyed Key Largo, Islamorada, and Key West, where fresh island breezes and exotic shores inspire writing.
This is the eleventh and final stop on Florida Author Adventures Trail #2.