John James Audubon's Birds of America is heralded as one of the first great examples of wildlife illustration. However, a recent paper written by Matthew R. Halley and published in the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club unravels the truth behind one of Audubon’s legacies, ‘the Bird of Washington’. The Bird of Washington was an invented species of North American eagle, intended to impress his audience and mislead his peers.
The Year 4 children at Grasmere Primary School were shocked by Audubon’s fraudulent work and were keen to try their hand at creating their own entries for his esteemed Birds of America.
Please note that the year 4 class at Grasmere Primary School have authored this blog themselves. To preserve the meaning of their writing, their words have not been edited.
Figure 1 Audubon’s painting of The Bird of Washington, featured in The Birds of America.
The Purple-legged warbler
The Purple-legged warbler is very small and very rare. It is found only in the warm forests of New Zealand. It has one of the longest tails compared to the body of any bird and has a small, very thin beak. It also has a gigantic crest.
The Golden Buttercup Queen
Habitat: It lives on the top of Mount Everest in a cave!
Country of Origin: Himalayas.
Its wings are made out of golden buttercups wich makes the top of Mount Everest snowy gold each year.
The Crazy Crested Queen
Magnificent spike-crested bird. It eats oranges and snails and comes from Jamaica.
Food: Fresh fish.
Wanders around looking for a free meal like a vulture.
The Eastern Californian Dark Phoenix
The Eastern Californian Dark Phoenix is a terror to any animals it sees. Weighing in at 647kg, it is the heaviest bird. It is also the tallest bird at 15m. it is 500mph and nothing can outrace it. Like a normal Phoenix, fire comes from its wings except it isn’t fire, its ash.
Tweety birds are very small and cute. They eat seeds and small insects. You can find them many jungles and tropical places. Their eggs are small, brown and speckled. They are known for making chirping and tweeting noises. Small trees can hold their weight because they are very light. Most Tweety birds enjoy warm, sunny weather, and fly away from cold places. Not many of them like going into water, especially if it is cold.
The Black Eye Bird
Habitat: Foggy forest
Flies: 100km per hour
The Rainbow Raget
Its habitat is under a rainbow. It eats pink worms. It comes from a rainbow.
Habitat: Snowy Mountains
Diet: Anything which has meat on it.
Rainbow fly is a close ansester to Rainbow Night. Rainbow fly is very rare. It will move places every 2000 years. It was last sighted in some snowy mountains.
Fluorosent Chromad Owl
Name: Fluorosent chromad owl
Lives up to: 80 years of age.
It can have up to 10 owlets.
Lives: In a tropical rainforest.
Family members: up to 20 owls.
Deadly Rating: ***
It’s called Stary. It can lay up to 6 eggs it lives in America and eats bugs, sand, leaves and drinks rain. It goes away in November to Africa and comes back in February. It is shy and cute.
Habbitat: Amazon Rainforest
Eats: Leaves and beatles
The tailed-haired chicken is very, very rare. Atually there is only 20 of them left. You never see because there super shy. They live in (and eat) paint and are very friendly to artists but if an artitst or anyone looks at there eyes they DIE.
Diamond Striped Falcon
My bird eats slugs. My birds habitat is savannah.
The North Egeal
It is a predator a dangerous one…
It’s habitat is the North pole.
PLACE FROM: ARGENTINA
LIKES EATING: CHICKEN
Medieval Winged Duck
Habitat: Australia and lives in a lake
Food: Fish and a species of salmon
Hobbies: Playing wack the salmon, tug of war with a sardine and first to eat 10 salmons get’s 20 to there self.
The Siesho stays in Japan for the cold Winter months and flys over to Miami in the hot summer.
Life span: 80 years
Chicks: up to 6
Personality: Shy but eager
The Russian Hook Beak
The hook beak uses it’s huge beak to stab the fish.
It can also wade in rivers with it’s long webbed feet.
Magnificent Rainbow Hoopoe
This rare uncommon bird is very beautiful and should be somewhere in Israel or Italy. It comes from Spain and sadly is now in the UK.
Hello I am a bird. I am three years old. My name is Rainbow Unicorn. She has colourful fur, lovely pink feet also she has small eyes, a blue mouth small like bees. She has magnificent eyelashes. Rainbow unicorn has a long tail. Rainbow unicorn can travel 200 meters per hour. She loves the beach. She comes from Mexico. You can find her at Mexico’s beach. Her body is small. She loves to eat sprinkle and chocolate. Her favourite obby is gymnastics.
The Gold Bird
The gold bird is deadly. Looks kind but it is not. With its razor sharp beak it will cut you in half. It lives on the mountains.
The Red-Tailed Hawk
This pretty yet dangerous bird may be harmful but not aggressive. It can be found near swamps, lakes basically any big body of water. It will eat anything from fish to frog from duck to mouse. It will be very protective for its little ones and will only harm humans if you harm the chicks or itself.
Hobbies: Loves to sit in the tree all day.
Shoots lightning, lava, fire, molten stuff, rock and carrots. It is smaller than the edge of a pin and sometimes become invisible. So its small but deadly. Extra fact: It has a belly button.
The Zapper bird is known for the amazing lightning bolt on its chest. When you try and catch it, it will zap you. It is found in the branches of the Amazon Rain forest.
Unlike most robins, the South eastern robin has a colourful crest on its head and is very protective of its territory.
It has a large blue eye and has a good eye sight.
It has a long, thin, slender and black tail probably enabling it to fly quicker and give it more balance.
Name: South-Eastern Robin
Height: approximately 14 cm.
Wingspan: 13 cm.
Lifespan: rufly 10 months.
Audubon’s Bird of Washington: unravelling the fraud that launched The birds of America. Halley, M.R. 2020. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club. DOI: 10.25226/bboc.v140i2.2020.a3.