Search Results for: "the big year"

A Brief History of The Big Year

We have two new clips to pour over until opening day on October 14th. First, here’s a quickie explanation of what a Big Year is, according to The Big Year.

Next, an expansion on the short “fallout” sequence first seen in the trailer.

I have a much better feeling about the movie after seeing these two clips – they actually made me laugh. I mean, this Kenny Bostick character is some birding rock star – he’s been on MULTIPLE covers of Audubon, Birding, and WildBird magazine!? One very quick nit / question (of many to come!): what is that green turaco-looking species shown at :29 in the first clip?

“I’ll put it down as a sick day.” LOL

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Competition for The Big Year

In the United States, unless its a holiday weekend, feature movies are traditionally released on Friday. Movies often have their best weekend during the first week of release, and a lot depends on the competition they face during that first weekend. So as birders anxiously await the release of The Big Year on Friday, October 14th, let’s see what else is coming to theaters on the same weekend.

Trespass is a thriller starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman, and directed by Joel Schumacher. Like The Big Year, Trespass so far doesn’t seem to have an official site or any trailers in circulation. Will audiences go for a big-name thriller over big-name birding comedy?

Footloose is a remake of the 1984 hit musical of the same name. Footloose already has an official site and has several trailers in circulation. I suppose this movie has a very different target audience from The Big Year.

The Thing is not a remake but rather a prequel to another 1980’s hit (John Carpenter’s film of the same name). The horror flick already has an official site and trailers to view.

The independent horror Killer Holiday is also slated for October 14th. I would guess this might have limited release, but I’m not sure. This movie has no official site but an official Facebook page instead.

Finally, the Spanish drama The Skin I Live In will open in New York and Los Angeles on October 14. This Sony Classics title was directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Interestingly, artwork for the movie includes Audubon’s iconic American Flamingo painting, which can be seen on the official site.

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New cast member for ‘The Big Year’

A film adaptation of Mark Obmascik’s The Big Year looks to be another step closer to production. In January news broke that the film would star Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Dustin Hoffman. Tonight reports are circulating that Steve Martin will take Dustin Hoffman’s place in the film. According to ABC News, filming is set to begin in May in Canada. David Frankel is still on to direct.

Although I do like Dustin Hoffman, I’m a big fan of Steve Martin, so I like this announcement. With this cast, there’s no doubt this will be a comedy. I just hope they don’t make birders look too goofy.

Humorous Pictures

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The Big Year coming to theaters?!

This interesting tidbit came to my attention via Facebook: a film adaptation of Mark Obmascik’s The Big Year is in development. According to this page on the New York Times, the cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson and Jack Black. The director is listed as David Frankel, and the genre is listed as adaptation, comedy and period (the story takes place in 1998). According to IMDbPro, the production companies are Deuce Three Productions and DreamWorks SKG, with Carol Fenelon and Curtis Hanson on board to produce.

I read The Big Year a few months ago and I thought it would make a great movie. The casting has me a bit puzzled, though.


**mild spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read the book **


** here come the spoilers **


The book covers the competition between three birders attempting a North American Big Year – they’re trying to see the most bird species in the continental United States and Canada. The year is 1998 and the three players are Sandy Komito, Al Levantin and Greg Miller.

I figure Sandy Komito was about 66 years old during The Big Year. He had worked as a salesman, and was known in the birding community as “the loud wisecracker from New Jersey.” Reading the book, I pictured him as looking something like Dan Hedaya. I would guess Dustin Hoffman would be cast as Komito. There’s a photo of Komito towards the bottom of this page, but I can’t figure out when it was taken (1997?).

At the start of the big year, Greg Miller was working systems for a nuclear power plant, getting ready for Y2K. He was recently divorced, overweight, and sad. “Forty years old and alone and no children-he hadn’t pictured his life this way.” It’s not at all hard for me to picture Jack Black in this role. There’s a photo of Greg Miller about a quarter of the way down this page, which was apparently taken around 2004.

In 1998, Levantin was a business executive recently retired after a 40-year career. As Obmascik describes him, “He was sixty-six years old, but often accused of lying about his age. With an outdoorsy pink in his cheeks, slate-blue eyes, and shoulders that still packed some muscle, he looked fifty. He acted thirty. He had charisma.” In my mind he looks kind of like Alan Dale.

So of those three main characters, I’m trying to figure out where Owen Wilson fits in. Could he play the part of narrator, or of Mark Obmascik, the book’s author? Obmascik doesn’t actually follow the birders around during 1998, but maybe the screenplay will work that way. What do you think? Have you read The Big Year? Who would you cast as the three leads? Are there any other roles – Kenn Kaufman, Debra Shearwater, etc – you would like to see cast a certain way?

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Goals for 2013

It’s that time of year! Here’s what I hope to accomplish, bird-wise, in 2013.

  • I’ll be keeping a BIGBY list again. With 115 birds last year, I surpassed my goal. That total will be hard to beat; I will be happy to get 100+ again in 2013.
  • I will be participating in the Bird-a-Day Challenge once again. My target is to beat last year’s total of 144 birds. I also strive to not stress about it too much. It’s a lot of fun but it messed with my head a bit last year. 😉
  • I would like to crack 200 birds in Volusia for the year. My Volusia life list is at 180, my 2012 list was 167 (#1 on eBird), and the eBird total for Volusia in 2012 was 249 (all as of December 30). The Big Year record for Volusia is 278 birds set by Michael Brothers in 2007.
  • I will try really, really hard to review at least 20 books this year. I post my reviews on and last year I was a huge slacker.
  • I’d like to fill in the missing weeks for Gemini Springs on eBird. Right now there are three eBird hotspots for Gemini Springs (I have suggested these be merged, but I am not sure how this process works). I use Gemini Springs and there are just two greyed-out weeks: the second in February and the second in May (from my own checklists, there are 7 weeks missing). The hotspot Gemini Springs County Park has more checklists over fewer months; between May and November there are only two weeks of data. This location appears to be used heavily by a snowbirder! 🙂 Combining all of the Gemini hotspots leaves just the second week of May missing.
  • I would like to improve my raptor handling skills at my new volunteer place, but I feel moving forward here isn’t in my hands as much as I would like. So I would consider it a “nice-to-have” if I could handle 4 more birds in 2013.

Do you have any goals (bird-related or otherwise!) for the coming year? Let me know in the comments! And best wishes for a fantastic and successful 2013!

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Awaiting BGE

Back in January 2011 I wondered if The Year of the Bird Movie was upon us. Besides the highly-anticipated release of The Big Year, a handful of other bird-related titles were in the works.

One such film was A Birder’s Guide to Everything, which at the time was listed as having a 2011 release date on IMDb. The independent film had a different time table in real life, and recently began shooting on location in Westchester County, New York.

Prior to filming, the director, Rob Meyer, posted this promotional video.

A Birder’s Guide to Everything Sizzle from Rob Meyer on Vimeo.

This video “sizzle,” along with the added positive early word from Kenn Kaufman, makes me very excited for this movie! Today IMDb indicates a January 2013 release date, but we should probably take that with a grain of salt. Meanwhile filmmakers are updating the BGE official blog and BGE Facebook page on a regular basis.

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Not too late for Birding the Net!

Audubon’s social media campaign-competition Birding the Net began on October 11th. Participants add the app to Facebook and then scour the web for free-flying javascript birdies on various websites, even including this one! Since Arthur and I were entertaining family for the last two weeks, we were pretty much unable to participate. However, with a few Google searches and some mad clicking skills, as of this afternoon we both have 20+ birds. We may or may not have a shot at any of the fabulous prizes, but since I received the following press release just last Friday, it seems Audubon would be more than happy to have more people participating. So, it’s not too late! You’ve got through November 7th to find as many birds as you can. See the full press release below for more info, and check out for more details.


Audubon releases virtual birds
all over the Internet

‘Birding the Net’ campaign will challenge people to find birds throughout the Internet

The first players to collect all the birds will win prizes, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands

NEW YORK – Birdwatching hit the Internet in a big way when Audubon launched its groundbreaking social media campaign, Birding the Net, on October 11. Visitors to over 100 websites — including AOL, Slate, Discovery Channel and more will encounter unexpected avian visitors – each inviting them to find more birds to add to their lists. The campaign, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will bring the excitement of birds and birding to a broad new audience in a new and unexpected way.

“Birds are the best possible ambassadors for the environment, and this will help people see them in a whole new way,” said David Yarnold, President & CEO of Audubon. “This is about fun – but it’s also about getting more people involved in taking action to protect birds and the planet we share with them. And with this unprecedented use of social media and the web, we’re also making it clear that this is not your grandmother’s Audubon.”
In the recently release film The Big Year, characters compete to see the most North American birds in one year. Birding the Net brings to the Internet the thrill of the chase found in real-world birding, challenging players to spot dozens of species that will be released from Oct. 11 through Nov. 7. Web surfers will observe virtual birds doing the same things that birds do outdoors: animations of birds will fly across homepages, perch on mastheads, and flock to birdhouses that anyone can install on personal websites and blogs. Clicking on the animated birds on the many participating websites takes players to an Audubon Facebook page to collect and trade “bird cards” which feature recordings of birdsongs, bird facts, and video. The first players to collect all the birds will win prizes, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands.

“This campaign amazingly combines bird preservation, education and alluring animation in an addictive experience that spreads across the Internet,” said Jeff Goodby, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and long-time supporter of Audubon. Says Goodby, “the game turns the cold digital world into a resonant reminder of what we love about the warm and fragrant natural world around us.”

All that is required to play is to visit Audubon on Facebook at The game will go viral, since trading bird cards helps a player’s chances of winning; the more Facebook friends that compete in Birding the Net, the more opportunities for trading birds. And for exclusive hints on where to find birds on the Internet, Audubon followers on Twitter (@AudubonSociety) can interact and follow campaign “spokesbirds” @FloridaScrubJay and @RufHummingbird.

In addition to the grand prize voyage for two to the Galapagos Islands courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions, prizes include Canon cameras, Nikon binoculars, gift cards to Woolrich and downloads of the Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds mobile app from Green Mountain Digital. All 200 winners also receive one-year membership to Audubon.

# # #

About Audubon
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at

About Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a unit of the Omnicom Group, is one of the world’s most respected and most awarded advertising agencies. Founded in 1983, the company is based in San Francisco and has over 700 employees serving a broad array of national and international accounts, including Hewlett-Packard, Frito-Lay, Haagen-Dazs, California Milk Processors Board (“got milk?”), Adobe, Sprint, NBA and many others. For more information on GSP, please visit

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Big Year site updated!

The official website for The Big Year has been updated with an about page, more video clips, a photo gallery, and more (hope you like Creedence!). There is also a link to “to learn more about the birds in The Big Year.” It’s nice to see the promotion of the movie including more about the actual birds. 🙂

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My visitors came from *where* in September 2011?!?!?

Here are my favorite search terms that brought visitors to this site during September 2011. This is part of an ongoing monthly series on blog search terms.

Questions like is a frigot the same as a king fisher bird just kind of blow my mind. Seriously?

This is a good question, though: when to remove humming bird feeder. The answer is not Labor Day, if you’re wondering. Here in central Florida I suppose the answer is never. 🙂

I wonder what a belgian barbie would wear? And would she carry a cone of fries?

I hope that the person searching for bufflehead banded and the one that searched for frigate bird ringed found the report a band site.

And I hope the person searching for white barred owl found these photos of a beautiful leucistic Barred Owl.

I think hovering flamingo is a kind of cool visual. The picture I get in my head for longheaded shrikes, on the other hand, is kind of creepy.

I really don’t know what the person searching for animated gif bird poop wanted to find. I mean, ew!

I hope the person searching for how to build a squirrel habitat out of a shoe box found a rehabber, if s/he needed one. Same with the person who shouted WHEN IS A LIMPKIN CHICK INDEPENDENT.

The search for huge pile of corn makes me wonder if there are some squirrels out there that have adapted opposable thumbs. 😉

Someone out there wondered can you have a spoonbill as a pet… no, you can’t. Why would you want to?!

A person after my own heart was looking for interesting bird hides. I hope they found my group Bird hides / bird blinds on Flickr.

Hopefully the large number of searches related to the upcoming film The Big Year (including target audience for the big year, “jack black” “steve martin” “owen wilson”, jack black the big year and big year t shirt) mean great things for the movie.

Finally, as usual I got quite a bit of traffic for searches related to Bald Eagle viewing at Starved Rock State Park. I’ll have an exciting post about a very special event taking place at Starved Rock up on the blog very soon!

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2011: The Year of the Bird Movie?

This year, birders are looking forward to a big screen adaptation of a popular birding book. The Big Year looks to be a big comedy, with stars like Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Rashida Jones, and others. Birdchick got a great scoop back in December when she heard from someone who saw an early preview. Check out her post here: Big Year Movie News & Rumors. It was recently revealed the film will have an October 14th release date. (h/t Greg Miller via Facebook)

But The Big Year isn’t the only movie coming out in 2011 that may interest birders. IMDb shows another intriguing title, A Birder’s Guide to Everything, with a 2011 release date, though the director’s personal website shows the film to still be in development. This looks to be a coming-of-age-with-rare-birds family film. Bryan Cranston and Ben Kingsley are named as stars.

An animated feature which looks to have a conservation theme, Rio, will come on out on April 15th. The story follows the last two Blue Macaws on Earth, one a household pet living in Minnesota and the other living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The two are brought together and mayhem ensues. Here’s a trailer:

Finally, another animated movie, Rango, will come out on March 4th. This doesn’t focus on birds, but looks to be a standard animated family flick, centering on a chameleon and a posse of desert misfits. I just thought it was worth noting some of the birds I’ve seen in the trailers: a Burrowing Owl mariachi band; Greater Roadrunners doubling as horses; and a Red-tailed Hawk depicted as the ultimate villain. Learn more at the official Rango website.

Are you planning on seeing any of these movies? Are there any other films you’re looking forward to seeing in 2011 (bird-themed or not)?

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