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John James Audubon (1785-1851), Plate CCCCXI Common American Swan

John James Audubon (1785-1851), Plate CCCCXI Common American Swan

  • $ 185,000.00

John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Plate CCCCXI Common American Swan

from Birds of America

Aquatint engraving with original hand coloring

Engraved by Robert Havell (1793-1878)

Published: London, 1827-1838

Paper size: 25 1/4 x 38 1/8 in.

"When travelling to a distance they proceed at a great height, with a steady and well-sustained flight, though by no means so rapid as that of the Trumpeter Swan, this difference probably arising from the greater weight and alar extent of the latter. They usually move in long lines forming the acute angle of a baseless triangle, the leader often changing his position and falling into the rear. On several occasions I have seen seven or eight leading the long single files behind them in a kind of disorderly crowded manner, which was continued until the birds were out of sight..."In flying, these birds make a strange appearance; their long necks protrude and present, at a distance, mere lines with black points, and occupy more than one-half their whole length, their heavy bodies and triangular whigs seeming but mere appendages to the prolonged point in front. "When thus in motion, their wings pass through so few degrees of the circle, that, unless seen horizontally, they appear almost quiescent, being widely different from the heavy semicircular sweep of the Goose. The Swan, when migrating, with a moderate wind in his favour, and mounted high in the air, certainly travels at the rate of one hundred miles or more an hour. I have often timed the flight of the Goose, and found one mile a minute a common rapidity, and when the two birds, in a change of feeding-ground, have been flying near each other, which I have often seen, the Swan invariably passed with nearly double the velocity" (Audubon's Ornithological Biography, 1831).

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