A More Perfect Union

Audubon plus Audubon equals a spectacular new website.

I’m not sure why this feels like a confession, but here goes: Somehow I’ve recently gotten addicted to solving jigsaw puzzles. My latest effort, which I only just finished assembling, piece by infernally interlocking piece, is based on an image of the Purple Heron, as painted by John James Audubon. At a certain point—probably when I was mired somewhere among the infinitesimally slight gradations of a milky skyscape—I broke down and consulted the picture on the puzzle box, but then became so frustrated with its lack of clarity and detail that I nearly threw it across the room. I stopped myself only when I remembered that I knew just where to find a much more detailed, high-resolution version.

All I had to do was head to the new audubon.org, which features gorgeously rich scans of every one of JJA’s Birds of America watercolors, all available to be downloaded—for free! It’s true! I’m not lying! Go check it out for yourself: audubon.org/birds-of-america.

While you’re there, you might also want to lose yourself in our completely reworked online Bird Guide, with text by renowned bird authority (and Audubon field editor) Kenn Kaufman, illustrations by the great David Allen Sibley, and dazzling new photography of more than 800 North American birds (not to mention recorded songs and sounds for almost every one of them, from Lang Elliott). Or catch up on the latest news and perspective on conservation, policy, and advocacy. Or get connected with your local Audubon chapter and discover all the ways you can deepen your own involvement with birds. Or simply enjoy beautiful, thoughtful writing about birds and the natural world.

A year ago in this space, I announced that we were working on a completely reinvented audubon.org, and I solicited your input and suggestions. (I also declared that the new site would make its debut “this summer,” a bit of hubris I’ll chalk up to irrational exuberance.) We may have missed our target date, but I believe we have delivered on our vision, which was to unite two once-separate sites (the organization’s and the magazine’s) into a single online home that fuels and rewards your passion for birds, conservation, and the outdoors, and that makes it easier to understand what the National Audubon Society is doing to preserve birds’ habitat and ensure their future.

I hope you’ll take a look, and please let me know (markjannot@audubon.org) if you think we’re on the right track, and what more we can do to improve. This is only the beginning.