Is there a link between birds and 007? 

Well, author and American birder, Jim Wright says there is.  The title of his latest book says it all.   “The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue and Ian Fleming.”

The book says, “Long before Ian Lancaster Fleming became a bestselling author, a single-minded Philadelphia ornithologist named James Bond wrote Birds of the West Indies, based on repeated expeditions to the Bahamas and the Caribbean from 1927 to 1935.” Let’s find out more about the real James Bond.

From this episode, we have started recording audio and video. Here is our Youtube video link of this episode.


Jim Wright is the author of The Real James Bond, a biography of the author and birdman who fell prey to the world’s most famous case of identity theft. The Wall Street Journal called it “siim and elegant” — like Bond himself. It is available as a hard-cover, ebook and audiobook.

A long-time prize-winning journalist, Wright has written lavishly illustrated nature books about Central America’s largest rainforest, Pennsylvania’s legendary Hawk Mountain, and the New Jersey Meadowlands. He has also written an interactive ebook about Bald Eagles. 

Wright is a nature photographer and blogger. He writes “The Bird Watcher” column for USA Today newspapers in New Jersey. He lives with his wife Patty in Allendale, NJ, where he is a deputy marsh warden.

Questions and Episode Timeline

  1. So who was the real James Bond? (Cuba’s bee hummingbird, red-billed streamertail, ivory-billed woodpecker).
  2. Tell us about James Bond meeting Ian Fleming and the cave swallows episode?
  3. You have written about America’s most iconic bird: the bald eagle.  Tell us about these spectacular raptors.
  4. In your blog, Celery Farm and Beyond, you describe the raptor counts that you’ve done at Hawk Mountain.  For those of us who have never been to Hawk Mountain, tell us why it is special and the raptors that you can see there?
  5. What attracts you to raptors? Which ones are especially interesting and why?
  6. Back to Bond…. In 1936, Bond wrote Birds of the West Indies.  Tell us about these birds that he discovered– like the Zapata rail, wren and sparrow.  Also the Bahama nuthatch.
  7. Why do ornithologists make good spies? “Birdwatcher is old intelligence slang for spy. . . .
  8. Who are some ornithologists who make good spies?
  9. Talk about James Bond’s legacy.
  10. Have you been to the West Indies? Which are some interesting birding locations you’ve visited and would recommend.
  11. What are some of your favorite bird species– you’ve written about sparrows, pileated woodpeckers, juncos and such.

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