Painted Bunting, Passerina ciris
Flora: the chickasaw plum, Prunus angustifolia
Print size: 26 1/4" x 39 1/4"; image size: 11 1/2" x 18 1/2"
Princeton Audubon Limited Edition - produced 1985
The Nonpareil, as this bird is sometimes called, is one of the most brilliantly colored birds of America. Audubon commented both on its peerless plumage and what he considered its pugnacity. In this composition painted in April 1821, five birds are perched on a sprig of a chickasaw plum sketched in by Joseph Mason. The female at the top carries nesting material, and the two mature and two immature males are engaged in a territorial squabble. While the males wear a crazy quilt of colors, the females are merely inconspicuous little green finches.
In Mexico, the painted bunting is quite a favorite cage bird; thus, Americans along the border are apt to speak of it as the Mexican canary. Reportedly, its bright, pleasing voice loses none of its quality in a cage, but the varied hues of its plumage diminish with time.
Princeton Audubon prints are direct-camera facsimile lithographs of the Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878) engravings for The Birds of America (1827-38). Princeton's Double elephant Folio prints are issued in limited editions of 500 or 1500 prints. All are numbered and have a seal in the bottom margin to demonstrate their authenticity.
Printed on heavy Mohawk paper that is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives, the paper is specially toned to match the average paper color of the antique originals.