famous bird watchers

Famous Bird Watchers: The Ultimate Guide

Did you know that birdwatching is such a popular pastime that approximately 45 million people partake in it? Even some mega-famous figures, including entertainers, authors, and politicians, have been reported to enjoy watching birds in their natural habitat. Stick around to learn about these famous bird watchers!

What Kind of Celebrities Enjoy Birdwatching?

Many famous figures, of varying occupations, enjoy birdwatching, from actors, musicians, and comedians to authors and even politicians. Some of these celebrities might surprise you!

So, who are these famous bird watchers, exactly, and why do they enjoy bird watching? Let’s break them down according to their occupations, shall we?

Famous Bird Watchers in the Entertainment Industry

Person Hidden in Bush Peeping with Binoculars

There are many actors, directors, singers, TV presenters, and comedians who are interested in birdwatching; some of whom may surprise you, including.

1.  Sir Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney is a well-known member of The Beatles. Due to his love of birds, Sir Paul has written many songs inspired by the feathery creatures. Some of these songs include:

Author Note: McCartney has a great appreciation for the symbolic nature of birds. He has also admitted to being a keen ornithologist and carrying a pocket-sized version of the Observer’s Book Of Birds.

The singer-songwriter even revealed being superstitious when it comes to magpies. He believes that when you see a magpie, you should either spit or salute. They’re also a source of inspiration for the artist, especially when there is a crowd of them.

2.  Wes Craven

Wes Craven is a director well known for films like A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream, and The Last House On The Left. Craven is such an avid birdwatcher that he went on to join the Board of Directors of Audubon in 2010.

His interest in birds started when he was a child. He has attributed his interest in birdwatching to his mother. They used to live in Cleveland and would often sit outside looking for purple martins and nighthawks.

The director even dedicated his monthly column to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, covering moral stories about a world where birds lived among humans in harmony. This column was titled Wes Craven’s The Birds.

3.  Rory McGrath

Rory McGrath is also in the entertainment business. The British comedian is known to be a dedicated bird watcher, so much so that he can recall the scientific names of around 500 British species.

McGarth even wrote a book called Bearded Tit; A Love Story With Feathers. The book is a memoir detailing how birds have influenced his life starting from childhood.

The comedian has claimed that birdwatching can appear dull unless you do it. However, he also claims that despite not being the coolest hobby, it’s more popular than you’d think.

4.  Alison Steadman

Alison Steadman is most well known for her roles in Abigail’s Party, Pride and Prejudice, and Gavin and Stacey. Her love for birds started with her watching the birds from the comfort of her garden in the north of London. Steadman has stated that if she were to be reincarnated, she would like to be a nuthatch.

Steadman has recently started to go twitching abroad. She has embarked on this endeavor with Mike Dilger – who has been described as The One Show’s resident birder. Their twitching journey was to the RSPB reserve in Dungeness. They were able to spot some of the first purple herons to nest in the UK.

5.  Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremey Clarkson is a well-respected British journalist and television presenter. Clarkson is a big fan of birdwatching and has even joined the RSPB. According to his wife, he regularly goes for walks around their holiday home while sporting a pair of binoculars to spot birds.

However, despite his love of birds, Clarkson has sparked some controversy regarding our fellow feathered friends. He garnered some harsh criticism for eating an ortolan bunting, which is a tiny bird that is prepared cruelly, on TV. He has also been reported to the police for disturbing a barn owl’s nest.

Famous Birdwatching Authors

Tourists watching bird hornbill and monkey with binoculars

Moving away from the entertainment industry, let’s discuss some celebrities in other fields, starting with authors.

6.  Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is an author, environmentalist, and conservationist, which perhaps explains her love for bird watching.

Author Note: Atwood has taken on the role of board adviser to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory. Along with her husband, she is an honorary president of the Rare Bird Club, which is part of BirdLife International.

However, her environmental efforts don’t stop there! She has collaborated with Balzac coffee to make bird-friendly coffee in 2010. This custom blend is made from organic, shade-grown beans that have been certified as bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

In the same year, Atwood wrote an article that was featured in the Guardian about how it’s essential to take immediate action to save the birds.

Margaret has also written children’s books, such as For The Birds, to inform children about environmental issues facing the world.

7.  Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming is well-known for being the creator of James Bond. His love for birds has been demonstrated in his work. The famous spy character was named after the ornithologist responsible for the book Birds of the West Indies.

It has also been reported that the writer would often take trips to Blue Mountain in search of rare birds. Some other characters in the James Bond franchise have also been named after birds, including Solitaire and Domino.

Flemming’s favorite birds were the streamer tail and doctor hummingbirds. The author even attempted to attract these birds to his garden by planting hibiscus.

Famous Birdwatching Photographers

Photographs are usually inspired by the things they love. Many photographers choose to focus their talent and camera lenses on nature. Here are some famous photographers who have openly expressed their love of birdwatching.

8.  David Bailey

David Bailey never intended to become a photographer. Rather, he had dreams of becoming an ornithologist. His inspirations were James Fisher and David Attenborough.

Bailey’s interest in birds started quite young. The photographer claims that he would run away from his sports day events to go bird watching. He even recalls his first photograph being a blurred photograph of a house sparrow.

His interest in birds hasn’t faltered. David Bailey still subscribes to bird-watching newspapers and eagerly reads the articles published every week.

9.  Andy Rouse

Andy Rouse is a photographer that is highly respected for his ability to capture birds in their natural habitats from a close and personal angle. He even has an article detailing how to photograph birds in different conditions and stances.

Famous Politicians Who Enjoy Birdwatching

Tourists watching bird hornbill

Politicians lead very stressful lives. This might explain why some of them enjoy the relaxing and calming nature of birdwatching. Some politicians who enjoy bird watching include:

10.  Jimmy Carter

This former American president revealed his love for birds in an interview with National Wildlife in 2004. He and his wife began recording the birds that have come across during family trips. This list consists of approximately 1,100 species of birds.

Author Note: They started this list after a visit to a game reserve in Tanzania in 1988. During this trip, a trained ornithologist taught them about many birds and inspired them to keep track of the species they saw.

He also volunteered to count birds as part of the Breeding Bird Survey. He has also been involved in wildlife conservation, including Operation Migration. This organization attempts to lead whooping cranes to safe wintering areas using ultralight aircraft.

11.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

The former American president’s love for birds started at a young age. FDR would often wander the forest along the Hudson River looking for birds.

He even learned taxidermy so that he could collect and preserve some of the birds he saw. Some of his work is even featured in the American Museum of Natural History.

The former president even became a member of the American Ornithologists’ Union as a teenager. Additionally, he would always keep detailed notes of his bird sightings.

As president, FDR would still participate in the annual bird counting event in the Hudson Valley. Many of his personal items including his collection of first-edition illustrated books on ornithology can be found in The FDR Library and Museum.

12.  Prince Philip

After joining the Navy in 1939, Prince Philip developed his interest in birds. Before joining the Navy, he could only recognize sparrows, seagulls, and ducks.

He became intrigued by the birds in the South Pacific and Atlantic. He photographed them and published some of the photographs of elusive birds in a compendium called Birds from Britannia.

Prince Phillip also became president of the WWF and Peter Scott’s Wildfowl Trust.

Did You Know…

Birdwatching is reported to be the fastest-growing outdoor activity in America. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a survey that revealed that about 51.3 million Americans are birdwatchers.

Its popularity might be partly due to the fact that it’s a rather inexpensive hobby to pick up. After all, all you need is a pair of binoculars, a notebook, and a hat. Nonetheless, bird watching is a fun and relaxing hobby that is suitable for all ages. So, why not call a friend and go watch some majestic birds in their natural habitat? We hope you enjoyed this article on famous bird watchers.

Fly high friends!


Why is bird watching so popular?

It is an easy way to connect with nature. There is a real joy in watching animals go about their daily business and no other animal is as accessible as birds. Plus there are so many different species that there is always something new to see in their behavior and colors.

How do you start bird watching?

Easy – get a pair of binoculars and a field guide and start looking. Your backyard or garden is a great place and if you don’t have those, go to your local park. Get to know what birds are present in your area. That will help you learn about how to identify birds. There are also lots of bird watching clubs you can join.

Comments 1
  1. I’m in Nepal and we have a tailorbird that has made a nest on our balcony and has had 4 tiny blue eggs and now is feeding 4 tiny babies .. The nest has been sewn together by some kind of white stuff and the nest is cone shape made in avacado leaves …
    Please let me know if your interested
    Kind regards Amanda

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