By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Birders sometimes have to get up pretty early to get a glimpse of their feathered friend, but here’s word of an event for which you can sleep in.

At 3:15 every weekday afternoon in the second floor library of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, a page is turned, meshing history and biology. The page is in The Birds of America by John James Audubon, an enormous book with 435 hand-colored prints of what Audubon cataloged. Robert Peck, Curator of Art and Artifacts, says the pictures are in a pattern.

“We know what’s coming up, but the visitor won’t know whether they’re going to be seeing a great big huge dazzling one or a medium-sized one. They’re all equally beautiful, and they’re integrated with fascinating backgrounds. It’s really a whole ecosystem that Audubon was able to capture in a single picture,” Peck explains.

To be clear, a staff member turns the page, which causes less damage to the artifact. And Peck says that in some cases, like that of the Passenger Pigeon, the image is all we have left.

Viewing the book is free with Academy admission.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio

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