Lifelong birder Christian Cooper's story went viral in 2020 when he was falsely accused of attacking a white woman. Now, his passion has led him to host his own National Geographic TV series.
"Extraordinary Birder," a television series by National Geographic, is all about the "wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds." The star of the show, however, is Christian Cooper. The birdwatcher rose to fame in 2020, when a video of a white woman wrongfully accusing him of attacking her in New York City's Central Park went viral. The incident was just another example of how white people have called law enforcement to report people of color, particularly Black people, under manufactured pretense. Evidently, Cooper has since moved past the experience and onto bigger things. He will host the TV show and travel to deserts, cities, rainforests and the rural South to birdwatch, The New York Times reports.
"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...," National Geographic stated in an announcement for the show. "[Cooper] does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above." The birdwatcher first heard from the channel about the possibility of a show about a year and a half ago.
Christian Cooper, the Central Park bird watcher who encountered the first Karen 2 years ago when she called police on him falsely claiming he was threatening her, now has his own TV series. National Geographic has announced he will host a new series called “Extraordinary Birder”. pic.twitter.com/gW36xXXS3R— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) May 18, 2022
Cooper shared, "I was all in. I love spreading the gospel of birding. [I look forward to encouraging more people] to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us." While there is no premiere date just yet, "Extraordinary Birder" is expected to run on one of National Geographic’s channels or on Disney+. There are six planned episodes so far. Episodes will feature Cooper birding in deserts, cities, rainforests, and the rural South. Although the birdwatcher is quite experienced, he had the opportunity to enjoy many firsts while filming for the show. For instance, he witnessed burrowing owls for the first time. He said, "They are actually quite adorable."
Christian Cooper is getting his own series about bird-watching for National Geographic. According to a press release, it will be called 'Extraordinary Birder' and will run on either NatGeo or Disney+ at an unspecified date in the future. pic.twitter.com/RQOQVQkjKH— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 19, 2022
Prior to the viral video, Cooper already had quite a public life. He served on the board of directors of GLAAD, formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and worked as an editor for Marvel Comics. There, he was credited with creating one of the first gay characters in the "Star Trek" comic universe. The confrontation, nonetheless, propelled him into the public eye in a new way. Since the incident, he has emerged as a thoughtful, measured voice. He was successfully able to highlight the "deep vein of racial bias" that runs through American society today.
Christian Cooper, bird-watching Black man, the target of false accusations during an encounter in NY City's Central Park in 2020, has new TV show on National Geographic.— Miss Marcella Sends Her Regrets (@marcelladba) May 20, 2022
NG announced that Cooper, a lifelong bird-watcher, will host Extraordinary Birder. https://t.co/oi4NHodIrf
He still regularly visits Central Park, particularly around this time of year. In fact, recently, Cooper spotted a Tennessee warbler. This bird, which has "a really distinctive, urgent cry" that sounds somewhat like "a machine gun," is quite difficult to catch. "The second you hear that..." the birdwatcher noted, "it's like, 'Oh boy, there’s a Tennessee around.'" "Extraordinary Birder" is still in production, but it's sure to be an amazing watch.