My column this week is about the Bee Hummingbird, the smallest hummingbird in the world.It was one of the many star attractions of James Bond's Birds of the West Indies, I saw earlier several this winter on a trip to Cuba with the Caribbean Conservation Trust. With a terrific photo by Kevin Watson. (Thanks, Kevin!)
Had a great time talking about Jim Bond and Caribbean conservation last week -- with a lot about coral reefs, sandy beaches and the fish that Bond collected for science.
The webinar, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy on New Jersey and Montclair Film, also featured Marci Eggers, TNC's deputy director for the Caribbean.
I met him as part of a group of birders who visited Cuba with the Caribbean Conservation Trust.
The biggest reason for my trip was to meet (and later interview) Orlando for my book about ornithologist James Bond of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.
I just came across an album that blends electronic music with the sounds of endangered birds in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.
The album's producers write:
"For the album we chose 10 endangered or threatened bird species and challenged 10 of our favorite producers or musicians from the region. Working with the Xeno Canto birdsong community and the Macaulay Library, we sourced a recording of each bird’s song. Each artist was then asked to create an original piece of music inspired by the bird and its song."
What's more, 100% of the profits from the album will go to organizations working to protect these birds, including a new favorite of mine, Birds Caribbean.
My favorite is "Black Catbird," by the Garifuna Collective. Reminded me of Belize and the wonderful times I had there.
My guess is the real James Bond would have loved the last song, Ferminia, featuring the call of Cuba's Zapata Wren, a bird near and dear to him.
The writeup to the right is from Bond's 1936 edition of Birds of the West Indies. Note the local name for the wren.
You can learn more about the album here.
The headline above was from an article in The New York Times in the mid-1930s. Bond was a noted ornithologist with a brand-new book, "Birds of the West Indies," by then. (But contrary to the sub-headline) he had no doctoral degree ... )
The introduction to the book went into great detail about the dangers facing the birds of the West Indies -- from humankind to hurricanes.
One of the goals of this book is to raise awareness -- and money -- to help the environment in the Caribbean. To that end, all proceeds from talks and appearances generated by this book will go to The Nature Conservancy's Caribbean initiative.
This one was next to my backyard. Whenever I see one, I think that it's the closest I'll ever come to seeing an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
The real James Bond admired them so much that he put one on the back cover of the 1947 edition of "The Birds of the West Indies" (below left), even if the chances of seeing one were remote at best. Earl Poole did the illustration.
If you'd like to learn how to pronounce "Pileated," read this.
In the 2002 007 film "Die Another Day," James Bond the secret agent posed as James Bond the ornithologist and even held a copy of one of the later editions of Bond's landmark field guide -- with Bond's name obliterated.
There's a classic scene between Pierce Brosnan's binoculars-toting, mojito-drinking James Bond (below) and Halle Berry's bikini-clad Jinx Johnson. In the scene, set in Cuba, Bond says he's an ornithologist and professes he's there "for the birds."
As a result, the book has become a bit of a collector's item, although the book is often misrepresented in on-line sales.
The actual one is the 1990 Collins U.K. edition, pictured above left.