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Q&A: Catching Up With Christian Cooper, Host Of “Extraordinary Birder”

By Pareesay Afzal

“My dad gave me a pair of binoculars when I was ten years old, and I haven’t put them down since”—that’s how Christian Cooper, the cheery, bespectacled host of National Geographic’s 2023 show Extraordinary Birder, opens each episode. Skipping from one birding destination to the next, he explores places like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and his home turf in New York City. At each stop, he goes adventuring with experts, visits conservation projects, and shares his bottomless enthusiasm for the unique birdlife he finds along the way.

Christian Cooper wrote about his lifelong love for birds and birding in a 2023 New York Times-bestselling memoir, Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural WorldHe is a Cornell Lab administrative board member and is on the NYC Audubon board of directors. We sat down with the former Marvel comics writer and editor to chat about weaving bird myths, growing up a Black and queer birder, and the universal appeal of birding.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Photo credit: Grandfther Mountain broad-winged hawk 

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