In response to the incident in New York involving birder Christian Cooper, and ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations in USA and worldwide – as well as in encouragement of the first #BlackBirdersWeek – BirdLife staff based in the UK, Senegal & Kenya voice their reflections and advice as birders.
“We are changing the face of birding”, said Corina Newsome, joint leader of #BlackBirdersWeek. “This effort was borne out of a large friend group of Black scientists and outdoor explorers who want to make sure the world knows that Black birders belong here, we are thriving, and our community is growing. We want members of our community…to know that they are welcome here and to not be deterred by people who have attempted to make these spaces hostile to us.”
Someone who experienced hostility first-hand is Christian Cooper, a board member of New York City’s Audubon Society, a Chapter of Audubon (BirdLife’s Partner in the USA). Audubon have issued a statement in response to the incident in Central Park, New York.
As Cooper himself said in an interview with the New York Times, which echoes BirdLife’s own sentiment: “We should be out here. The birds belong to all of us… The birds don’t care what color you are.”
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