Louis Agassiz Fuertes, born on February 7, 1874, in Ithaca, New York, was an American ornithologist, illustrator, and artist. He is considered one of the most prolific American bird artists, second only to his guiding professional predecessor John James Audubon. Fuertes was the son of Estevan Fuertes, a Puerto Rican astronomer and civil engineer, and Mary Stone Perry Fuertes. His father was the founding professor of the School of Civil Engineering at Cornell University. Fuertes became interested in birds at a very early age, and at the age of fourteen, he made his first painting of a bird, a male red crossbill, from life. He learned to keep careful records of the appearance, habits, and voices of birds. In 1891, at the young age of 17, Louis became the youngest member ever named when he was inducted as Associate Member of the American Ornithologists' Union. He died on August 22, 1927.

In terms of cultural impact, Fuertes set the rigorous and current-day standards for ornithological art and naturalist depiction. His groundbreaking work influenced many later wildlife artists. In 1947, the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Award was established at the Wilson Ornithological Society. His evocative works remain an influential storehouse of knowledge about avian species. His illustrations of birds and mammals for National Geographic Magazine inspired the Society to hire their own artist. Fuertes' work continues to inspire and educate, making him a notable figure in the field of ornithological art.