When you hear the name ”James Bond”, you immediately think of the salacious book that made him famous: Birds of the West Indies.
The book details what is perhaps an embellished account of the sexy ornithologist lifestyle. Looking through binoculars, making measurements, taking notes, drawing illustrations, trying to find undiscovered species… it all has the hallmarks of a 1950’s power fantasy.
It’s a world inhabited by mysterious characters such as Eskimo Curlew, a bird who was the last of his kind gunned down in Barbados like it was some rogue agent. It’s inhabited by characters with mysterious and sultry names that sound like inhabitants of a dime-store detective novel. Names like Bahama Nuthatch, Zapata Wren, and Masked Booby. You can almost see our author, James Bond, in the shadows as he lifts his binoculars to track the elusive but alluring Zapata Wren.
“Birdwatcher” is also a British slang term for a spy. I don’t know why I’m mention that since it has nothing to do with ornithology.
Today we celebrate the birthday of James Bond. Were he alive today, he would 122 years old. That would make him the oldest man alive, beating Jiroemon Kimura, who sets the record at 116 years. (Still a little behind the oldest woman, Jeanne Calment, who passed away at 122 years, 164 days.) Sadly we have humans have yet to unlock the secrets of bird immortality.
Talk about your favorite birds!