He’s turned lemons into lemonade!
A wrongfully accused Central Park bird-watcher is now getting his own show on National Geographic, NPR reports.
Christian Cooper has been an avid bird-watcher since he was 10 years old, carrying that passion into adulthood as he spent long days in New York searching out the city’s most fascinating birds. In May 2020, the 59-year-old went viral after a white woman with a dog called the police on him, sparking national outrage. Cooper began recording the woman as she falsely accused him of threatening her and her dog. The woman was ultimately charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for making false statements, Cooper explaining to the media that he was simply bird-watching when everything happened.
While the woman ultimately was charged for making a false statement and lost her job over her overtly racist practices, Cooper took the high road. He refused to participate in the crucifying of the woman and declined to work with prosecutors who ultimately dropped the charges after she completed a series of restorative justice sessions. Now Cooper is reaping the benefits of his goodwill, National Geographic announcing a new show featuring the long-time bird enthusiast!
Extraordinary Birder will center around Cooper, who serves as the show’s host, as he takes viewers into the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds.” Cooper says the show has been in the works for a year and a half and that from the minute he was contacted by National Geographic, he “was all in.”
“I love spreading the gospel of birding. [I’m looking forward to encouraging people] to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us,” Cooper told The New York Times.
“Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above,” National Geographic said via statement.
Cooper hopes he can bring awareness to the majesty of birds, speaking passionately about how the pastime has changed his life.
“It adds another dimension to just being on the street. It adds another dimension to how you exist in the world,” he said.
No word yet on when the show will air but we’ll be watching!
Photo Courtesy of Jon Kroll/National Geographic