For years Christian Cooper has studied the habits of Kirtland’s warblers, Swainson’s thrushes, Acadian flycatchers, and other birds that he spends countless hours searching or observing.
Although Manhattan resident Mr. Cooper watches birds all over the world, one of his most frequent destinations is beloved Central Park, home to more than 200 species, including loons, egrets, hawks, and owls. live or die During immigration flights.
He is perhaps best known for encountering a woman there two years ago who claimed she had called the police and threatened him after Mr. Cooper asked him to keep his dog on a leash.
Now, to be in the public eye once again – this time on his own TV show.
On Monday, National Geographic announced a new series called “Extraordinary Birder,” featuring Mr. Cooper, which is expected to air on one of National Geographic’s channels or on Disney+. The premiere date has not been announced.
“Whether it’s braving stormy seas in Alaska for trout, trekking through the rainforest in Puerto Rico for parrots, or climbing a bridge in Manhattan for a falcon,” National Geographic said in an announcement, “these extraordinary furry animals It does whatever it takes to learn about the creatures and show us the extraordinary world in the sky above.”
Cooper said he first heard about the possibility of a show about a year and a half ago from National Geographic – “I was everything” – and the show completed six episodes by traveling to the deserts. cities, rainforest and rural South.
“I love spreading the birdwatching gospel,” he said in an interview Tuesday, adding that he looks forward to encouraging more people to “stop, watch and listen, and begin to truly appreciate the absolutely gorgeous creatures we have among us.”
Mr. Cooper, 59, has been a semi-public figure in various ways for decades. She served on the board of GLAAD, formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. While editor of Marvel Comics, he is best known for creating one of the first gay characters in the Star Trek comics universe.
This Clash in Central Park In 2020, it brought it into the public eye in a new way. Mr. Cooper pulled out his phone and started recording during a disagreement with Amy Cooper, the woman he met there. In the video, Ms. Cooper, unrelated to Mr. Cooper, was seen calling 911 and telling her, “I’m going to tell them there was an African-American man threatening my life.”
After Mr. Cooper’s sister posted the video on Twitter, it had tens of millions of views. In the resulting anger, Miss Cooper lost his job He was accused of filing a false police report with investment firm Franklin Templeton and by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Miss Cooper to sue Franklin Templeton said the company insulted and discriminated against him in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Franklin Templeton requested that the case be dismissed.
Mr. Cooper appeared as a thoughtful, measured voice. He spoke publicly about what he called the “deep vein of racial prejudice” circulating in society and said there was no excuse for the inherent racism of Ms Cooper making a false claim against him.
However, he also distanced himself from Ms. Cooper’s public display and refused to cooperate with prosecutors, and prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the case against her after she completed a treatment program that included instruction on racial prejudice.
Mr. Cooper has loved birds ever since he grew up on Long Island and was shot down by red-winged blackbirds at the age of 10. Wherever he is, he still listens to the birdsong.
“It adds another dimension to being on the street,” he said. “It adds another dimension to how you exist in the world.”
Mr. Cooper said that while he was making “Extraordinary Birder,” he saw burrowing owls for the first time and added it to the list of his life. “They’re actually pretty cute,” she said.
Mr. Cooper still goes to Central Park regularly, especially this time of year – he’s usually there at dawn. On Tuesday morning, he was excited to see the Tennessee warbler, an elusive bird with a “really distinctive, urgent cry,” which he said partially sounded like a “machine gun.”
“As soon as you heard that,” he said, “oh boy, there’s a Tennessee around.”