Since 'Central Park Karen,' Birder's Life Has Changed a Bit

Christian Cooper has a book and TV show coming
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 3, 2023 12:15 PM CDT
Birder in 'Central Park Karen' Incident Has TV Show, Book Coming
This image made from May 25, 2020, video provided by Christian Cooper shows Amy Cooper with her dog calling police at Central Park in New York.   (Christian Cooper via AP)

Three years after he found himself involved in a confrontation that quickly went viral, Christian Cooper—the Black birder who filmed a white woman who became known as the "Central Park Karen" as they argued about her off-leash dog in a protected section of the Manhattan park—is "living an absolute dream." Cooper has a book coming out next month, and in one of the essays from Better Living Through Birding: Notes From a Black Man in the Natural World, adapted in the New York Times, he says his lifelong hobby is still changing his life. The year after the Central Park incident, National Geographic asked him to host a TV show on birding, a passion of his since he was a "queer and nerdy ... Black kid growing up on Long Island in the 1970s."

The show allows him to spend his days "crisscrossing the continent in pursuit of iconic species, having close encounters with the rarest birds, ... and having the privilege of telling the harrowing and inspiring stories of these birds’ conservation," he writes. Extraordinary Birder premieres June 17, the New York Post reports. Meanwhile, he's watched the number of birders—including underrepresented Black and brown birders—"surge," which has brought him joy, considering the difference birding has made in his life. "One of the things I love most about birding is how it shifts your perceptions, adding layers of meaning and brokering connections—between sounds and seasons, across far-flung places and between who we are as people and a wild world that both transcends and embraces us," he writes. Read the full essay at the Times. (More Central Park stories.)

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