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John James Audubon (1785-1851), American-French naturalist. Audubon was born in Santo Domingo (now Haiti), the illegitimate son of a French sea captain. He was brought up in Paris, France, where he studied art. In 1803 he went to America, in part to escape conscription into Napoleon's army. Having married, and been jailed for bankruptcy in 1819, he began an adventurous expedition to catalogue every bird in America. In 1827 this comprehensive catalogue was published as The Birds of America. It contained 1065 life-sized colour illustrations of birds. During 1840-44 he went on to produce a seven-volume summary.
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