Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

The New James Bond Movie

February 19, 2011

Sean Connery (photo by Alan Light)

News comes that the latest James Bond film (number 23 in the “official” series) is to be released in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No. The new movie is, as yet, unnamed. Because Ian Fleming gave his famous fictional spy the name of a real ornithologist, it seems appropriate for us at the Fat Finch to name the new movie and help out with the plot. Here are some suggestions for the title and characters which we offer, free of charge, to the makers of the new Bond movie, starring -we hope- Sean Connery as an aging James Bond.

Dippers are Forever


The Man with the Golden Gull

For Your Eiders Only


Die Another Dove


We think the leading villain should be a disillusioned, resentful ornithologist named Dr. Bittern. His evil henchman, named after the original producer of the Bond movies, will be Bufflehead Broccoli who Bond will eventually throw into Bittern’s vulture pit. Bond will say to the vultures, “Eat your broccoli.” Bond’s love interest in this movie will be Booby Bushtit and she snipes at Bond so much that he finally says to her, “Booby, you’re emberizidae me.” Whereupon, she disrobes and responds, “Oh, James. Don’t be such a grouse.”

Caribbean Birds

August 4, 2010

About a year ago we told you about the real James Bond, the author of the best field guide to the birds of the West Indies. Ian Fleming borrowed the famed ornithologist’s name for his famous fictional spy.

Now a new field guide to West Indies birds is on the way, about to be published by Princeton University Press. The latest in Princeton’s Illustrated Checklists, it is the little book you want to carry when you travel anywhere from the Bahamas to Grenada. “Bond, James Bond” is about to be supplemented by Norman Arlott.

Mr. Arlott is not a spy as far as we know, although he is British. He is a fine illustrator of birds. Arlott has illustrated field guides to the birds of China, Europe, Japan, and Russia. In Birds of the West Indies he illustrates and very briefly describes each of the 550 species of birds that live, breed, or pass through the islands.

Many flights to the West Indies from the U.S. connect in Puerto Rico. The book will make you want to get off the plane and stay a few days so you can go in search of the male Pin-tailed Whydah. In breeding season (April to November), its tail grows like Pinocchio’s nose, starting out at a modest 11 centimeters and growing to 33 centimeters. (Page 168) And you’ll wish for an agreement of some kind with Cuba so Americans can again explore the avian richness of that island and see Grundlach’s Hawks and Cuban Parakeets. Being British, Mr. Arlott can go there at will, look at birds, and legally smoke Cuban cigars.

Pin-tailed Whydah

The book is a perfect size for a field guide. 5 inches by 7.5 inches and 240 pages, it weighs in at 14 ounces. (400 grams.)

Generally, we have a prejudice against field guides that put the range maps at the back of the book. It can be a pain to look at the bird, find it in the book, then flip to the back to assure yourself that your identification comports with the bird’s likely range. However, it is not a problem with this field guide. The brief textual entries always name the islands where the birds are found and you’ll always know what island you’re on. For instance, if you are on Petit St. Vincent – and if you are, you have no idea how envious we are – you might see a White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird. But you’ll know you’re in the Grenadines and the text will tell you whether that bird ever visits the Grenadines. You’ll have no need for the range maps. In fact, if you really need to shave weight you could excise the last 70 pages of the book, tape the rest together and save about 4.3 ounces or 167 grams. That weight savings can matter at the end of a long day trekking up and down Caribbean hills on a hot day.

The book retails for $24.95. If you are going to the West Indies, don’t leave home without it


Thanks to Doug Jansen for the photo of the Pin-tailed Whydah and the Creative Commons license to use it.


My name is Bond, James Bond (007 Goes Birding)

August 16, 2009

“My name is Bond, James Bond.”


No. No. No. Not that James Bond.  This one:


The real one. I’m the one who published more than 40 original ornithology papers but never once shot anyone with a Walther PPK.  Ian Fleming stole my name.

I was the author of The Birds of the West Indies, first published in 1936.


In real life, I was an American ornithologist and lived from 1900 to 1989.  When Ian Fleming needed a name for his fictional spy, he chose mine because he used my book often when he was living and bird watching in Jamaica.  Apparently he saw my book on his bookshelf in his home in Jamaica and decided that mine was the perfect name for his spy.  In 1964 he gave me a first edition copy of his book, You Only Live Twice. He inscribed it for me:

“To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity”

I never minded that he borrowed my name, although I must tell you; birding in the Caribbean was never like this, except for the clouds:


His books and mine, even though we are both long since dead, are still in print.  You can get mine from Amazon or have your local bookstore order it for you.  That is better.  Your local book store needs the business. Now, it is named The Peterson Guide to the Birds of the West Indies.

If you’re interested in more about me, Auk published a nice obituary after my death.

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