John James Audubon is frequently referred to with reverence as the father of the North American ornithology, and has a public reputation that is nearly impeccable. He has birds named after him, the country’s best known bird organization has his name, and is widely acknowledged as both a skilled painter and the best of the gentleman naturalists of the 19th century. But not so fast, says ornithologist and historian Matthew Halley, in a recently published article in Bulletin of the British Ornithologist’s Club called "Audubon's Bird of Washington: unravelling the fraud that launched The birds of America". The product of 10 years of work, Halley's article blows the lid off of the origins of perhaps North America’s best known bird book and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about Audubon's spectacular grift and his troubled legacy.
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