Images from: Audubon, John James. The Birds of North America. New York: J. J. Audubon; Philadelphia: J. B. Chevalier, 1840-1844.
White-headed Sea Eagle, or Bald Eagle
"The figure of this noble bird is well known throughout the civilized world, emblazoned as it is on our national standard, which waves in the breeze of every clime, bearing to distant lands the remembrance of a great people living in a state of peaceful freedom....The great strength, daring, and cool courage of the White-headed Eagle, joined to his unequalled power of flight, render him highly conspicuous aomng his brethren....
Before steam navigation commenced on our western rivers, these Eagles were extremely abundant there, particularly in the lower parts of the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the adjoining streams. I have seen hundreds while going down the mouth of the Ohio to New Orleans, when it was not at all difficult to shoot them. Now, however, their number is consideraly diminished, the game on which they were in the habit of feeding, having been forced to seek refuge from the persecution of man farther in the wilderness. Many, however, are still observed on these rivers, particularly along the shores of the Mississippi."
Vol. 1, pp. 57, 62-63.
"This beautiful bird is merely a winter visitor of the United States, where it is seldom seen before the month of November, and whence it retires as early as the beginning of February. It wanders at times along the sea coast, as far as Georgia. I have occasionally seen it in the lower parts of Kentucky, and in the State of Ohio. It is more frequently met with in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys; but in Massachusetts and Maine it is far more abundant than in any other parts of the Union....
In the course of a winter spent at Boston, I had some superb specimens of the Snowy Owl brought to me, one of which, a male, was alive, having only been touched in the wing. He stood upright, keeping his feathers close, but would not suffer me to approach him. His fine eyes watched every movement I made, and if I attempted to walk around him, the instant his head had turned as far as he could still see me, he would open his wings, and with large hops get to a corner of the room, when he would turn towards me, and again watch my approach."
Vol. 1, pp 113, 115.
Common Osprey, Fish Hawk
"The motions of the Fish Hawk in the air are graceful, and as majestic as those of the Eagle. It rises with ease to a great height by extensive circlings, performed apparently by mere inclinations of the wings and tail. It dives at times to some distance with the wings partially closed, and resumes its sailing, as if these plunges were made for amusement only....
When it plunges into the water in pursuit of a fish, it sometimes proceeds deep enough to disappear for an instant. The surge caused by its descent is so great as to make the spot around it present the appearance of a mass of foam. On rising with its prey, it is seen holding it in the manner represented in the Plate. It mounts a few yards to the air, shakes the water from its plumage, squeezes the fish with its talons, and immediately proceeds towards its nest, to feed its young, or to a tree, to devour the fruit of its industry in peace."
Vol. 1, p. 66
"The Golden Eagle, although a permanent resident in the United States, is of rare occurrence, it being seldom that one sees more than a pair or two in the course of a year, unless he be an inhabitant of the mountains, or of the large plains spread out at their base. I have seen a few of them on the wing along the shores of the Hudson, others on the upper parts of the Mississippi, some among the Alleghanies, and a pair in the State of Maine. At Labrador we saw an individual sailing, at the height of a few yards, over the moss-covered surface of the dreary rocks."
Vol. 1, p. 50.
images in electronic format provided by the USNA PhotoLab
For a biography of Audubon and additional information see the National Gallery of Art's John James Audubon, American, 1785 - 1851