In the final weekend of our exhibition "Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife," which closes this Sunday, July 15, we're reminded that even the majestic Golden Eagle wasn't safe from 19th-century fashion trends—the brown feathers of this beautiful bird were often used to make fans, considering a must-have accessory of the era. 🦅 #FashionFriday #FightforFeathers
In 1833 John James Audubon painted this female—whose length he gave as 3 feet, 2 inches, with a wingspan of 7 feet. Audubon purchased the live bird from a man who claimed that it had been caught in a trap. He so admired her that he considered restoring her to freedom but decided she was too damaged. Then, he agonized about how to euthanize her humanely to “take the portrait of the magnificent bird.” Traumatized, he labored over this powerful image for about two weeks.
Today, the Golden Eagle is endangered by climate change, but an eagle feather law provides exceptions to federal wildlife laws to enable American Indians to continue their traditional practices. Under the current law, individuals of certifiable American Indian ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers. Unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts can be fined up to $25,000. 👉 Learn more about the Golden Eagle from our friends at @usfws
📸 Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Study for Havell pl. 181, 1833. Watercolor, pastel, graphite, black ink, and black chalk with touches of gouache and selective glazing on paper, laid on card. 38 1/8 x 25 1/2 in. (96.8 x 64.8 cm). Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.181.
📸 Fan of eagle feathers, 1895–1900. Feathers and tortoiseshell; 22 in. (55.9 cm) Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, 2009.300.4297. #goldeneagle #eagle #audubon #birdyourworld #yearofthebird #protectamericanbirds #migratorybirdtreatyact