Italian Street Artist Channels Audubon, Paints Stunning Bird Murals Across U.S.

Jessica Stewart // The Image Hunter
Jessica Stewart // The Image Hunter / Jessica Stewart // The Image Hunter

One Italian street artist has embarked on the migration of a lifetime.

Muralist Hitnes is spending three months retracing the steps of naturalist John James Audubon—and painting stunning portraits of the bird species who live along the way.

Hitnes first traveled to Philadelphia in late July, and from there, on to Mill Grove, Penn., the site of Audubon’s first home in the United States. The artist next went to work at Easton, Md.’s Pickering Creek Audubon Sanctuary, painting a larger-than-life green heron and a red-winged blackbird there, and has since visited Charleston, Miami, and other locations.

"The expedition will touch almost every southern target of Audubon’s birding pursuits, which stretched over many years,” writes Emily Silber of Audubon magazine. “Thanks to modern transportation options (Audubon traveled by foot, horse, and boat), Hitnes’s expedition will take considerably less time.”

Hitnes is expected to travel through 15 states total, along with videographer Giacomo Agnetti, who is documenting his journey for a project the duo will release in 2017.

The painter, whose parents are scientists, fell in love with the watercolors of Audubon during a 2013 visit to the New-York Historical Society. But it was a map of Audubon's many expeditions that got his wheels turning.

“It was very inspirational,” Hitnes tells the magazine. “[The idea] came very quickly, just like that, and I said, ‘Okay: United States, Hitnes, and Audubon.”

For updates about where in the U.S. Hitnes is, visit his Instagram or his website,

All images by Jessica Stewart // The Image Hunter

[h/t Audubon]