J. T. Bowen, 1856-1871. Print. Item #236628
6-3/4 by 10-1/2 inches. Handcolored lithograph from the royal octavo edition of Audubon's The Birds of America, measuring 6-3/4 by 10-3/8 inches. Modern name: Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis). About this bird, Audubon wrote, 'As soon as the cold blasts of winter have stiffened the earth's surface, and brought with them the first snow-clouds, millions of these birds, driven before the pitiless storm, make their way towards milder climes. Their wings seem scarcely able to support their exhausted, nay almost congealed bodies, which seem little larger than the great feathery flakes of the substance from which these delicate creatures have borrowed their name. In compressed squadrons they are seen anxiously engaged in attempting to overcome the difficulties which beset them amid their perilous adventures. They now glide low over the earth, relax the closeness of their phalanx, and with amazing swiftness sweep over the country in search of that food, without which they must all shortly perish. Disappointed in their endeavours, the travellers again ascend, close their files, and continue their journey. At last, when nearly exhausted by fatigue and hunger, some leader espies the wished-for land, not yet buried in snow. Joyful notes are heard from the famished voyagers, while with relaxed flight, and wings and tail expanded, they float as it were in broad circles, towards the spot where they are to find relief. They alight, disperse, run nimbly in masses from the foot of one corn stalk to the next, scratch the ground here, pick up a dormant insect there, or nibble the small seeds of the withered grass, mixing them with a portion of gravel. Now two meet, and contend for the scanty morsel; the weaker gives way, for hunger, it seems, acts on birds as on other beings, rendering them selfish and unfeeling. ' The snow bunting is found from the northern United States to the arctic. Minor loss at left edge, else a fine, bright print with no foxing. Please note the background is actually light green; the color of the image is a bit off.