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April 2020

'Real James Bond' Is Now an eBook!

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I just found out that "The Real James Bond" is available as an eBook from Amazon (for Kindles) and Apple -- and will soon be available through libraries via

You can order an eBook (or check out a sample) at Amazon here and on the Apple Books app.

You can read The Wall Street Journal review here.

1st Thing I Wrote on the Real James Bond

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My book started out with a column about James Bond that I wrote for The Record in North Jersey back in 2015.

I wanted to write about Bond because of the 007 connection, and because he was from my hometown, Philly. But to write about Bond for the newspaper, I needed a New Jersey angle.

I contacted author David Contosta, who had written a short biography of Bond more than 25 years ago, and asked him if Bond had any New Jersey ties.

Contosta replied that Bond's aunt in Trenton had Best of Bird Watcher coverencouraged him to be a naturalist and that she was a Roebling, as in the Brooklyn Bridge-building Roeblings. 

Hmm, I thought, I bet there's a lot more to learn about this guy, and off I went.

After the column ran, I started looking into Bond in earnest, and my book is the result.

Last year, to mark a decade of writing "The Bird Watcher" column, I put together a free e-book of my favorite 50 columns. I included "The Real James Bond" in the collection.

You can learn more about the e-book online and download it for iPad and other tablets here.

You can read the Real James Bond column here. (I didn't have room to put in the quote about Bond's aunt.) 

If you poke around, you can read the rest of the "Best of" book as well.

Cape May Spring Birding Festival Info

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NJ Audubon just announced the schedule for their reimagined Spring Festival.

It's the first-ever virtual birding festival I've ever heard of -- a  ground-breaking event you won't want to miss.

There'll be all kinds of virtual birding events around this storied locale, featuring the likes of Tom Reed, Scott Whittle, Dale Rosselet, David Mizrahi, 5   RealJamesBond_COVER(1)Kevin Karlson and more.

The dates are Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, May 24.

I'm the keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon, and I'll talk about the real James Bond. (Natch!)

Jason Ward, who leads field trips across the country and has his own web series "Birds of North America," will give Sunday's keynote. 

You can read the details and sign up here.

MONDAY: To support this festival, I'm selling signed copies of my new -- and often hard-to-get -- book by mail. I'll tell you how to order.

The Bird on the Cover of 1936 & 1947 Editions

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The bird on the cover and frontispiece of both the 1936 first edition and 1947 edition is a male Cuban Tody.

If you examine the color illustration closely (above, left) on the 1936 edition,  you can see its nest hole. (The nest hole was cropped out in the 1947 edition.)

Here's Bond's writeup (Under range: Fidel Castro later changed the name of the Isle of Pines to the Isle of Youth):

Cuban Tody description
More "Birds of the West Indies" blog posts here:

Yesterday: A terrific "Birds of the West Indies" webpage.

Wednesday: The two first editions of "The Birds of the West Indies."

Monday: Read the 1936 BOTWI online for free, here.

 Sunday: Ian Fleming's copy of BOTWI.

A Terrific 'Birds of the West Indies' Webpage

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When I was researching the book, I found one webpage especially helpful in regard to the various editions of "Birds of the West Indies."

You can see it here.

Tomorrow: All about the bird on the cover of the 1936 and 1947 editions.

Wednesday: The two first editions of "The Birds of the West Indies."

Monday: Read the 1936 BOTWI online for free, here.

 Sunday: Ian Fleming's copy of BOTWI.


The First Editions of 'Birds of the West Indies'

For fans of the real James Bond and Birds of the West Indies, a mystery still surrounds the very first edition, published in 1936 by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and printed by the Waverly Press in Baltimore.

The mystery is:  Why was the book published with two different bindings, one gray and the other dull green, with slightly different type on the spine?

The title page for both -- indeed, the entire book -- seems identical in both instances.

The photos are of my two first editions, one in each color.

No one seems to know which was published first, or why a change was made.

The one pictured above has the original dust jacket -- which took me four years to find for sale.

The dust jacket still has $4.50 in pencil -- the original price.

Tomorrow: A great webpage about all the editions of BOTWI.36

Friday: All about the bird on the cover of the 1936 and 1947 editions.

Yesterday: Read the 1936 BOTWI online for free, here.

Last Sunday: Ian Fleming's copy of BOTWI.