The Clark will be closed this Thursday and Friday, November 27th and 28th, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
In honor of tomorrow’s turkey-centered festivities, I went looking for turkeys at the Clark. They are not very abundant here, either in the stacks or outside, but to my surprise I found that we do have a set of the 1840 Royal Octavo edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which contains two of Audubon’s drawings of the noble Meleagris gallopavo. Though our set is currently shelved with our other rare books on natural history, it is technically part of our Montana collection, as it was purchased with the bulk of that collection in 1924 from collector Charles N. Kessler. The lithographs are not quite as break-taking in this small size as they are in the first edition elephant folios of Birds of America, but they are still quite nice.
Unlike inside the library where we have a least a couple, Wild Turkeys do not number among our avian visitors outside — unsurprisingly we are a little too urban for their tastes. Other species drawn by Audubon are commonly found at the Clark and across LA, though — Audubon’s Warblers, Hermit Thrushes, Northern Mockingbirds, Spotted Towhees and Mourning Doves, just to pick a few. The library grounds also attract more unusual visitors, like the Yellow-Throated Warbler, which is a rare visitor to Southern California, but with which Audubon was quite familiar from his time living in the southeastern US. This particular bird was spotted yesterday near the Clark’s gatehouse and got some local birders excited about adding it to their LA County life lists.
You may think all of this bird talk is, well, for the birds, but you may want to keep the Clark’s outdoor attractions in mind when you return after Thanksgiving, still full of turkey, stuffing and pie. Even if you don’t care about our warblers, brisk walks around our gardens might seem awfully appealing as you get in shape for another big meal at the end of December!