Birds of the West Indies

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This article is about a field guide. For the birds, see Endemic birds of the West Indies.

Birds of the West Indies (ISBN 0-618-00210-3) is a book containing exhaustive coverage of the 400+ species of birds found in the Caribbean Sea, excluding the ABC islands, and Trinidad and Tobago, which are considered bio-geographically as part of South America.

Written by ornithologist James Bond, the book was first published as A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies in 1936 by the Academy of Natural Sciences as part of the International Series. It has been reprinted several times since then, including as one of the Peterson Field Guides series (PFG 18), a September 1, 1999, edition from Houghton Mifflin and a March 4, 2002 edition from Collins. The book contains approximately 256 pages.

The book was the only text exclusively devoted to the avifauna of the region for many decades until A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies (ISBN 0-691-08736-9), by Herbert Raffaele et al.., was published in 1998.

James Bond[edit]

Birds of the West Indies is known not only for its exhaustive study of Caribbean birds, but also for its author, whose namesake became famous as the fictional Agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service. The name of the book's author, the ornithologist James Bond, was used by Ian Fleming for the name of his popular British secret agent, Commander James Bond.

Fleming, a keen bird watcher while living at his estate in Jamaica, owned the book. He later explained that the author's name was "brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon, and yet very masculine – just what I needed." Fleming once said in a Reader's Digest interview: "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, and 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department." The book has since become a collector's item amongst Bond fans and was featured as an homage in the twentieth James Bond film, Die Another Day, when Bond poses as an ornithologist while in Cuba. The final shot of the miniseries Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is of a copy of Birds of the West Indies next to Ian Fleming's typewriter.

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