I’m a bird-watcher. I guess it really started for me about the same way it started for John James Audubon. I sit and watch and capture on my camera what he studied and captured with his paint brush. Birds. Hundreds of them. In the John James Audubon State Park Museum, you’ll see on display the pinnacle of his life work, Birds of America, depicting 435 life-size images of the birds he sketched and painted. My first trip to the museum was nearly 60 years ago, and now I have returned to again be inspired.
John James Audubon State Park
John James was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. His love of the outdoors, wildlife, and in particular, his love of bird-watching began in early childhood and became his life work. Born April 26, 1785 he spent more than half a century roaming the woods, hills, and countryside studying the wildlife of America, in particular, birds. He is quoted as saying, “As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature.” This he successfully accomplished.
The beautiful gardens on the park grounds are reminiscent of his childhood where he spent a portion of his life in his ancestral home in France. The park is located on 575 acres of land in Henderson, Kentucky. The museum houses three galleries depicting the family history with more than 200 objects on display.
Inside the structure you will climb a circular staircase to a bird observation room.
Once at the top of the stairs you’ll discover a beautiful domed room with windows opening out onto the surrounding woods. There are even little niches to encourage birds to nest within view of the tower. This room is used to host specialty sessions teaching and sharing many of the things that were near and dear to the heart of John James Audubon.
The park is beautiful, clean, and well thought out for maximum bird viewing. There are terraces, and benches if you want to just unplug for the day and let nature soothe and relax your soul.
One of the quotes that is attributed to John James Audubon is ” Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.” I thought much on this philosophy and wondered what it would feel like to have no cares, and to not care about the cares I did have. As I pondered this, I began to realize that God wants each of us, His Creations, to live in this manner. He even states clearly that if we have cares, He wants us to cast them all on Him for He cares for us. He uses birds to amplify this teaching. If even a sparrow falls from the air, the Bible states that God sees when it falls.
Worries and Cares Will Not Change Anything
In the Bible, Matthew 6, the verses say; “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
My bird-watching station is nothing compared to the John James Audubon State Park, but I do have a specific place just outside my window where each day as I write, I watch the birds. Just now a Cardinal, Red-headed Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, and Robin have arrived in the branches.
Are you a bird watcher? What do you see in your area? Have you been to John James Audubon State park? I’d love to hear about your experiences.