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March 4, 2008, 09:57 AM ET

Audubon's 435 Birds Mounted Online at Pitt

The naturalist John James Audubon attempted, in the 19th century, to paint every species of North American bird. He got through 435 of them before running out of time and money. Now the University of Pittsburgh Library System, with a little more time and money, has digitized all 435 of the images and mounted them online.

Only 120 sets of the large, hand-colored works — acknowledged as masterpieces of ornithology — are known to exist. Pitt’s Digital Research Library used a high-resolution scanner to create the digital set for the Web, along with reprints from Audubon’s Ornithological Biography, his five-volume text describing each of the birds.

The little tyrant fly-catcher has never been so easy to spot. —Josh Fischman

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