Happy Birthday James Bond

It would have been James Bond’s 121st birthday today.

When I say James Bond though I am not talking about the elusive spy codenamed 007 but about the American ornithologist and expert on the birds of the Caribbean.

The real Bond was born in Philadelphia and worked as an ornithologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in that city, rising to become curator of birds there. He was an expert in Caribbean birds and wrote the definitive book on the subject: Birds of the West Indies, first published in and, in its fifth edition, still in print.

However his name was the inspiration for the famous fictional spy.

Fleming said he chose the name because he “wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument…” Bond’s first appearance was in Casino Royale, published in 1953.Ian Fleming, was a keen bird watcher living in Jamaica, was familiar with Bond’s book.

Bond was born on January 4, 1900 in Philadelphia, where he also died on February 14, 1989.

In the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day, the fictional Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, can be seen examining Birds of the West Indies in an early scene that takes place in Havana, Cuba.