LIVE from NYPL, Treasures: Birds of New York: Audubon in the City

Date and Time
October 20, 2021
Event Details
Accessibility Notes:
- Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media is accompanied by image descriptions to reference before the program or by audio description.
- ASL interpretation is available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance: email or use this Gmail template.

Birders and scientists discuss the lives of birds in our urban environment and their efforts to make birdwatching more inclusive.

More than 200 different species of birds frequent the New York City area. Their safety and survival depend on what we do to curb the impacts of climate change, light pollution, and urbanization. Meanwhile, birding circles are addressing the racist and colonial legacies of the field. How do a diverse set of groups combine their knowledge in birding and ornithology with their passion for social justice to educate the public not only on the issues affecting birds but on those impacting their greatest advocates? 

Christian Cooper, author of the forthcoming book Better Living Through Birding, moderates a conversation with experts and organizers on how they're building awareness about birds, while strengthening the communities that protect them.

This event is produced in partnership with NYC Audubon.

Presented as part of The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures, which showcases some of the most extraordinary items from the 56 million in our collections. Among them is John James Audubon's monumental illustrated book Birds of America (1826). The event will begin with a short curator talk on Audubon's achievements in ornithology, given by Meredith Mann, Librarian at the Manuscripts and Archives Divison of NYPL's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. 

To learn more about Treasures, please visit the exhibition website

The program will be streamed live on this page. If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.



Jordan Rutter recommends these resources from her Bird Names for Birds website: Akilah Lewis suggests the following titles: Christian Cooper recommends:
On birding in NYC — On race and birding —
  • “Birding While Black,” by J. Drew Lanham — Lit Hub article
  • "It’s a Bird" in Represent!, by Christian Cooper, Alitha Martinez, and Mark Morales — NYPL Ebook
On the problem of John James Audubo —

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Christian Cooper is a Manhattan-based writer and editor, a longtime Central Park birder, and a board member of New York City Audubon. A past president in his undergrad days of the Harvard Ornithological Club, he went on to write comics at Marvel for several years. His latest work, the Black Lives Matter comic It's a Bird was published by DC Comics, and his book Better Living Through Birding is upcoming from Random House. 

Akilah Lewis was born and raised in Queens and has been birding for four years throughout New York City. She serves as the secretary of the Feminist Bird Club, a co-organizer for 2021's Black Birders Week, and a member of NYC Audubon's Young Conservation Council. 

Dr. Kevin Burgio  is the Director of Conservation Science at NYC Audubon, a Research Scientist at the University of Connecticut, Adjunct Professor at Hunter College, and Subject Editor for the scientific journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. He is a conservation ecologist and studies disturbance (e.g., climate change, habit loss, and conservation) affects on the distribution and extinction of birds. Additionally, he does research in the fields of science communication and education. Aside from research, he is an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equality in science, and is a first-generation college student, disabled military veteran, single parent, and member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Jordan Rutter is a birder and ornithologist. She co-founded Bird Names for Birds, an initiative to remove eponymous and honorific bird names to help increase inclusivity in the birding and ornithological communities. 



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