“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“Birds are cool and I love them.” — Charles Holmes
Birdwatching needed something. Over the last century, the exquisite sport has lacked the popular attention it deserves. While climbing through the wilderness in search of the rarest winged beasts our world has to offer is a thrilling pursuit, widespread assumption held that change would never come to the rigorous world of recreational fowl watching.
Then, one bold staff writer and a generational rap talent arrived at the sport’s great halls and wrested control. For one day this spring, Charles Holmes and Valee traveled through Central Park in search of the feathered zeitgeist of the moment, the bird The Cut called “New York’s Most Eligible Bachelor” and The New York Times dubbed “Hot.” Decked in the finest vests and bearing binoculars, the two friends searched for the elusive Mandarin Duck. What they found instead was the real America, friendship and birds, glorious birds.
Rolling Stone is proud to present its latest show, Birding With Charles. It’s an interview series focused on the beauty of nature and the existential dread of artisans. Among the chirps, flaps, and honks, humans become their real selves. In its debut episode, G.O.O.D. Music’s Valee shared that Kanye West would be a great birdwatcher, his ambivalence towards Costco, and briefly makes friends with a squirrel. We hope you like it.