Central Park birdwatcher Christian Cooper lands National Geographic series
Thanks to Cooper's deep love of nature, he'll be hosting a new show, "Extraordinary Birder," focused on his lifelong hobby.
Christian Cooper, the Central Park birdwatcher made infamous by recording a woman making false claims about him to the police, has landed himself a new gig. Cooper will be the host of a new show on the National Geographic network focused on his lifelong hobby and deep love of nature.
Via a press release announcing its coming slate of programming, National Geographic shared details of the series Extraordinary Birder, which will have Cooper at the helm, airing on NPR and other outlets.
“Life-long birder Christian Cooper takes us into the wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds,” reads a portion of the release about the series. “Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above.”
Cooper, 59, found himself in the news a year ago after crossing paths with Amy Cooper — no relation — as she walked her dog. Mr. Cooper was casually observing birds inside Central Park when, after he asked her to put her pet on a leash as is required in that wooded area, Ms. Cooper — who is white — called the police and attempted to weaponize them by falsely accusing Cooper of threatening her.
“I’m in the Ramble. And there is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet. He’s recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she told authorities during a recording of the incident captured by Mr. Cooper’s smartphone camera.
Ms. Cooper was eventually hit with a third-degree misdemeanor false claim charge, which was then dropped after she completed five restorative justice sessions. She was reportedly fired by her employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, in the wake of the furor over her confrontation with Mr. Cooper after his video went viral.
“We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” company officials said in a statement a day after the May 2020 incident, firing her immediately. She has since filed a discrimination lawsuit against Franklin Templeton.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Cooper shared that he was 10 years old when his passion for bird-watching began. “I love spreading the gospel of birding,” he said.
National Geographic’s premiere date for Extraordinary Birder has yet to be released.
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