Bird Observers' Club

Visitors are always welcome at Cumberland Bird Observers' Club

Birdwatching in Sydney since 1979

Who was the real James Bond?

James Bond was an American Ornithologist (someone who studies birds) who wrote the classic field identification book "The Birds of the West Indies". When Ian Fleming wrote "Casino Royale" in 1952 at his home in Jamaica he needed a name for his fictitious spy and, seeing Bond's book in his library, decided to "borrow" the author's name.

"I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous a personality as possible," said Fleming. "It struck me that his [Bond's] name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed."

Bond's book is still in print and, despite being originally written in 1936, is still the only definitive bird identification book covering all the birds of the West Indies.

Bond followed his father into the career of ornithology and began surveying the birds of the West Indies in 1926. He travelled extensively through the islands for many decades spending long periods in Cuba and Hispaniola. "Virtually the entire area was explored fairly thoroughly with the exception of some of the more southern Bahamas," he wrote in 1960. "Of the native West Indian species of birds and those known to have been successfully introduced I encountered approximately 98 per cent in life."

James Bond was a Curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union and a member of the British Ornithologists' Union. In 1952 he received the Musgrave medal from the Institute of Jamaica and in 1954 was awarded the William Brewster medal (the most prestigious award in American ornithology) from the American Ornithologists' Union for his work on West Indian birds.

A new book has been published about the life of the real James Bond.

Packed with archival photos, many never before published, and interviews with Bondís family and colleagues, here is the real story of the pipe-smoking, ruthless ornithologist who introduced the world to the exotic birds of the West Indies.

Read all about it in the author's blog: Click here to read the blog

Birdwatching "James Bond" Style
CBOC James Bond dress up photo
Photo:Tony Peri

For a bit of fun, some CBOC members dressed up in 'James Bond' style to produce the above photo.

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