IntoBirds is saddened to learn that Jim Fowler, the safari jacket-clad naturalist who introduced the wonders of the natural world to millions of viewers each week as host of the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom died May 8.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Fowler, with his wife Betsey, at their home in Rowayton, Connecticut in 2017.
After making Grace Farms, in New Canaan, Connecticut our bird patch that summer, we enjoyed connecting with Mark Fowler, Jim’s son, and nature initiative director at Grace Farms.
The Fowler Feeder
When Mark heard about intoBirds, his eyes light up.
He said, “You guys have to interview my Dad and see the Jungle Jim Fowler Feeder.”
Of course, we jumped at the chance!
The Fowler Feeder is an incredible bird feeder Jim designed, with the help of his son, Mark, so he could enjoy seeing birds in his backyard.
Read our story about the Fowler feeder here.
This custom-designed bird feeder is constructed entirely of bamboo with two tunnels for bird feed, and landing branches.
Trading Exotic Birds of Prey for Backyard Birds
We were struck by this amazing feeder, and meeting the man who introduced the neotropical Harpy Eagle to the world so many years ago.
A man who once discovered wildlife all over the world and was now was perfectly content with enjoying the same birds that you and I enjoy in our backyards.
It was a dream come true to talk with Jim about things important to him.
Things We Learned About Jungle Jim
During the hour we spent with him talking and identifying backyard bird with him, we learned many things.
-His trick for squirrel-proofing his bird feeders
-Tips for attracting birds to your yard
-His love for birds of prey
-The Peterson Field Guide is his favorite field guide
-He thinks some birds, like the Red-bellied Woodpecker are incorrectly named
-His views about the importance of conservation and open space
-And that his wife, Betsey, is an exceptional wildlife artist
Friend to Nature
But most importantly, we learned that the man who was our idol growing up was just as genuine, personable, funny, and dedicated to the protection of wildlife as we hoped.
He didn’t let us down and was an honorable man worthy of our respect that we could look up to for inspiration.
We’re so thankful for Jim’s journeys to exotic places, introducing us to fascinating animals, and helping to grow our love for nature.
RIP Jim Fowler
Jim Fowler held different titles for those of us who watched him on television.
Naturalist. Zoologist. Ornithologist.
Call him what you like.
We call him an advocate of the natural world.
And with his passing, the natural world lost a good friend today.