Movie Review.

For bird watchers and lovers there aren’t really that many movies to enjoy that capture the fun, excitement and endless possibilities of bird watching. Most bird-oriented films are documentaries which certainly have their place and are generally very enjoyable. The one actual plot-based movie about birding is “The Big Year” from 2011 starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. So “birding” not only gets a feature film but one with top acting and comedic talent which lets you know it’s going to fun (it’s birding) and funny (obviously with this cast!). While the film wasn’t a big hit or a critical success (remember it’s birding) it succeeds in telling a good birding story in a fun way.

The story centers on three birdwatchers from different walks of life: a programmer who studies bird calls all day while working, a would-be executive retiree, and a champion bird watcher who prioritizes birding over his wife and work. All three have decided to have a “Big Year” which is to spend an entire calendar year traveling to the hottest birding spots across the United States to have a chance for setting a new record for most species viewed in a year. The fun derives from each character racing from one locale to another, part plan and part improvisation depending on where lots of birds can be seen or the chance to see a rare species. I’m not going to give away more of the story except to say the way each character approaches his big year has important impacts on his life overall. And there are lots of birds to be seen in some of the most exotic and special birding locales in North America!

I hope you enjoy this film and share it with others!

The Big Year is currently streaming on Disney Plus. It can be purchased to view on several other streaming services.

John W. Shiver, Doylestown Township’s Bird Town Committee Member