Central Park birder to host bird walk on the Vineyard

Christian Cooper, known as the Central Park birder, will be on the Vineyard in August. —Courtesy Trustees of Reservation

Science writer and editor Christian Cooper will lead a bird walk on Aug. 5 on the Vineyard. 

The Trustees of Reservations and the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival have partnered to host Cooper.

Cooper is known as the Central Park birder, author of “Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural Worldand lead for the National Geographic series “Extraordinary Birder.” 

He was Marvel Comics’ first openly gay writer and editor, and introduced the first openly lesbian character to Marvel Comics. Cooper also introduced the first gay male character in the Star Trek comics, which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in 1999.

Based in New York City, Cooper is a member of the NYC Audubon board of directors.

In 2020, Cooper was involved in the Central Park birdwatching incident, in a section of the park known as the Ramble. A woman’s dog was unleashed in the Ramble, an area where leashing is required. When Cooper requested that her dog be leashed, she allegedly refused. Cooper beckoned the dog toward him with a dog treat, and the woman escalated the situation, placing a 911 call, claiming that an African American man was threatening her and her dog. The incident received widespread publicity, with many deeming the dog walker’s actions to be racist.

On Aug. 5, Cooper will join 20 visitors at Long Point Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has birds such as warblers, Ospreys, Shearwaters and Great Blue Herons.

“Birding made an enormous difference in Christian Cooper’s life and, through his eyes, we too experience the magic of the natural world,” festival director Suellan Lazarus said. “Creating an experience that brings readers into the field to learn and observe with him is something we are proud to offer this year as part of the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.”

Tickets to the event include the bird walk and a copy of Cooper’s book, courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival. The event will cost $32 for Trustees members and $40 for non-members.


  1. Wonderful news about Christian Cooper. He’s quite talented an knowledgable in his field, and I’m glad to see him getting the respect and recognition he is due.

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