National Geographic : 1977 Feb
SEVEN Carolina parakeets perched in a cocklebur (left) reveal the elegant design of Audubon's best works. In his Ornithological Biography, a five-volume companion to the folio, he wrote: "Parakeets are destroyed in great numbers. ... ten, or even twenty, are killed at every discharge." Hunted for their plumage, all were dead by 1918. Demonstrating an other Audubon talent -the creation of a dramatic scene-pere grine falcons feast on ducks (below). Drama and design come together in one of his most famous, and controversial, plates mockingbirds defending a nest against a rattler (right). Claiming that rattlesnakes do not climb trees, Audubon's enemies attacked him. As it turns out, rattlesnakes can climb -but rarely do.