The Natural World Lost a Good Friend Today in Jim Fowler

Jim Fowler, Longtime Host of Wild Kingdom Dies at 89

Reading Time: 2 minutes

IntoBirds is saddened to learn that Jim Fowler, the safari jacket-clad naturalist visiting our living every week introducing 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.

Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut became our bird patch, and we met Mark Fowler, Jim’s son, and the nature initiative director at Grace Farm.

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 about the Fowler feeder here.

This custom-designed bird feeder is made entirely of bamboo with two tunnels for bird feed, and landing branches.

Jim, and his wife, Betsey, an amazing wildlife artist. She painted the incredible elephant painting behind them
Jim, and his wife, Betsey, an amazing wildlife artist. She painted the incredible elephant painting behind them

Trading Exotic Birds of Prey for Backyard Birds

We were struck by this amazing feeder, and meeting the man responsible for introducing the neotropical Harpy Eagle to the world so many years ago.

A man whose passion was discovering wildlife all over the world was perfectly content with watching the same birds that you and I enjoy seeing 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 birds 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

Jim Fowler was an advocate of the natural world. And with his passing, the natural world lost a good friend
Jim Fowler was an advocate of the natural world. And with his passing, the natural world lost a good friend

Friend to Nature

But most importantly, 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.

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