Central Park ornithologist Christian Cooper to host National Geographic show

Cooper will host a series, “Extraordinary Birder,” which National Geographic says will take viewers on a journey through the “wild, wonderful, and unpredictable world of birds” in the United States.

“Whether it’s braving the stormy seas of Alaska for puffins, hiking through the rainforests of Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, it makes all it takes to learn more about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the skies above,” he said in a statement.
Cooper, 59, told The New York Times that National Geographic contacted him about a potential series a year and a half ago.

“I was all in,” he said. “I like to spread the gospel of bird watching.”

A National Geographic spokesperson told CNN the show will air in the spring of 2023.

When CNN contacted Cooper by phone, he declined to provide further details. But he expressed his enthusiasm in a post last week on Facebook.

“Birdwatching has exploded in popularity recently, and I can’t wait to shine a light on these amazing creatures and the amazing birders who love them and work to protect them!” he wrote.

Cooper refused to cooperate with Amy Cooper’s lawsuits

Cooper made headlines after a white woman falsely accused him of threatening her and her dog on May 25, 2020 — the same day a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Amy Cooper (no relation) was walking her dog in Central Park when she met Christian Cooper in a wooded area known as Ramble, famous for bird watching.

An argument broke out after he asked her to keep her dog on a leash, which is mandatory at the Ramble. She threatened to call 911 as he used his phone to record video of the incident.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she said in the video.

She then told dispatchers that she was in danger as he remained silent most of the time. “I’m in the Ramble. And there’s a man, African American — he’s got a bike helmet. He’s recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she said.

Christian Cooper posted part of their exchange on social media, where it was widely shared as another example of white people calling the police on black people doing mundane things like banking and running. A version posted on Twitter was seen more than 45 million times.

The indignation was wide and rapid. Amy Cooper was fired from her job at a financial services company and accused of filing a false police report. Christian Cooper said he would not cooperate with his prosecution.

“Given that Amy Cooper has already lost her job and her reputation, it is difficult to see what is to be gained from a criminal charge, other than respect for principle,” Christian Cooper wrote in a July 2020 opinion piece in The Washington Post. “If its current setbacks aren’t enough of a deterrent to those who seek to weaponize the race, the threat of legal action is unlikely to change that.”
Amy Cooper told CNN in 2020 that she was not racist and wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone”.
In February 2021, prosecutors dropped charges against Amy Cooper after she attended racial equity education and therapy classes.

He wrote a comic about his experiences

The popularity of birdwatching has increased during the pandemic among people seeking safe outdoor recreation.
Christian Cooper said his love for birdwatching began in childhood when he read a book about birds to keep busy on a cross-country road trip with his parents. By the time they arrived in California, he was able to identify some birds, he told The Washington Post in 2020.

He is also a huge fan of comic books and superheroes, and has worked as a comic book editor and writer in the past. After the Central Park incident, he wrote a graphic novel partly based on his experiences. DC Comics released the “It’s a Bird” novel in September 2020.

It tells the story of Jules, a black ornithologist teenager, who recovers an old pair of binoculars with magical powers. When he flips through them, he sees the stories of Amadou Diallo, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – unarmed black Americans who were killed by police.

“I hope young people will read it in particular, and be inspired to keep the focus where it belongs, which is on those we have lost and how we avoid lose more,” Cooper said at the time.

Christian Cooper’s new show is one of six new non-fiction series coming to National Geographic.

They include “Dance The World With Derek Hough”; “Farming Is Life,” with urban gardener and influencer Indy Srinath; “Restaurants at the end of the world”, with chef and entrepreneur Kristen Kish; and an upcoming series with travel blogger Jeff Jenkins.

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