'Real James Bond' Useful Links

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In conjunction with the talks I am giving this week, here are some useful links.

The Smithsonian Magazine recently posted my article about the real Bond. You can read it here.

My interview with BirdWatching Magazine is here.

The Real James Bond has gotten some marvelous reviews and praise, and I thought it might be helpful to link to as many of them as possible in one spot -- here.

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007 Female Characters with Bird Names

Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 12.07.28 PM                                                Ana de Armas | Nicola Dove/DANJAQ, LLC/MGM
At least two female characters in Ian Fleming's novels were likely named for birds -- Solitaire in Live and Let Die and Domino  (Thunderball). 

Fleming named Solitaire for the Rufous-throated Solitaire (a thrush with a beautiful, almost haunting call). You are most likely to hear this elusive bird in the Blue Mountains, where Fleming would occasionally go birding on muleback -- the mountains were too far away and too steep to traverse, and the roads over the mountain ranged from primitive to non-existent. 

Fleming came up with the name after his in-law, Guy Charteris, visited Fleming and his wife at Goldeneye in early 1953 and said he was fascinated by the Solitaire and its eerie flute-like song.

The  Common Yellowthroat was once known in Jamaica as the Domino Bird because the black feathers around its eyes resemble the domino mask so popular with comic-book heroes and carnival-goers. 

As has been pointed out many times, "bird" was once British slang for "young woman," just as "bird watcher" was British espionage jargon for "spy."

A friend pointed out that this avian tradition continues in Spectre and No Time To Die with Dr. Madeleine Swann and Paloma (Spanish for dove). 

The photo above is of Ana de Armas as Paloma, photographed by a photographer with the last name of Dove -- Nicola Dove.

Coincidences? You decide.

New French Article on Bond, Spies & Fleming

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I came across a fascinating article about 007, the real Bond, spies and more on The Conversation website.

The trouble is that this version of the website is French, and the article by Luc Shankland and Nathalie Mazin-Chapignac is in French as well.

(The Conversation bills itself as "a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good. We publish trustworthy and informative articles written by academic experts for the general public and edited by our team of journalists.")

I especially like the part about my book being an "extremely well-documented and illustrated biography."

You can read it here:

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Zoom Talk Soon: The Bird Eggs of James Bond

Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 9.20.53 AMBond's Bird Eggs, Friday night via Zoom, 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

This colorfully illustrated talk for the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in California will focus on Bond, the Fleming connection, and some of the bBond Harpy eagle eggs mage0(9)irds, bird eggs (including two Harpy Eagle eggs from the WFVZ) and other species that Bond collected.

The foundation roughly 60 sets of eggs that Bond colle
cted in the West Indies.

There’ll be some 007 moments as well, in keeping with
the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die.

You can register for this talk here.

You can learn more about the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology here.

'Birds of the West Indies' in New TV Ad

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You have to look quickly, but a recent edition of the real James Bond's Birds of the West Indies makes a cameo appearance of a brand-new TV commercial for a high-end fashion designer with ties to the new 007 movie.

Now that's my kind of Easter egg.

(A big thanks to Jamie Skinner for bringing this to my attention.)

 The video is here (Gotta love the old binoculars and the other nods to Bond and Fleming and 007):

The Bird Podcast on 'The Real James Bond'

Check out this podcast and video I did with Shoba Narayan for the popular Bird Podcast. from India.

Here are some of the questions that Shoba asked:

  1. So who was the real James Bond?
  2. You have written about America’s most iconic bird: the bald eagle.  Tell us about these spectacular raptors.
  3. What attracts you to raptors? Which ones are especially interesting and why?
  4. Back to Bond…. In 1936, Bond wrote Birds of the West Indies.  Tell us about these birds that he discovered– like the the Bahama nuthatch.
  5. Why do ornithologists make good spies? “Birdwatcher is old intelligence slang for spy. . . .
  6. Who are some ornithologists who make good spies?
  7. Talk about James Bond’s legacy.
  8. Have you been to the West Indies? Which are some interesting birding locations you’ve visited and would recommend.

You can hear my answers here.

You can learn more about the Bird Podcast here.

The Real Bond, Fleming, & Fact Vs. Theory

During my book research and work I've done for blog posts IMG_0692and articles, I keep coming across two types of information: 

  • Theories (typically based on coincidence, secondhand information, and speculation).
  • Facts (or the closest thing I can come to them).

That's why I try to find as many interviews as I can with Ian Fleming or Jim Bond, which provide information straight from the author's mouth.

To that end, I recently tracked down an interview that Fleming did with American writer Roy Newquist.

It appeared in the November 1964 issue of Show magazine.

The blurb on the cover proclaims:

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My Free LIbrary Talk Is on YouTube

My talk from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Rare Book Department is now online.

The talk is tailored to emphasize all the cool things I found in the James and Mary Bond archives when I researched the book.

A show and tell of the archives materials begins at 18:30. 

My Two Bond Talks in Philadelphia

This weekend, I am giving free Zoom talks at the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

On Friday at 2 p.m., I am giving a Zoom talk from the library's Rare Book Department. I will show several Bond items from the James and Mary Bond archives that I used during my research.

You can register here:


On Saturday at 2:30, I am giving a talk in the Academy of Natural Sciences auditorium. You can see it live or as a Zoom presentation. Some birds of the West Indies collected by Bond, Frank Gill and Arturo Kirkconnell will be on display.

(The photo above is from my book launch at the Academy of Natural Sciences in March 2020 -- just as Covid hit...)

You can register for the Academy event (live or Zoom) here: