For serious North American birders, having the opportunity to take a "big year" is a lifelong dream. The idea is for competitors to spend from January 1 to December 31 crisscrossing the continent to see how many different bird species they can spot or hear during that time.
In Twentieth Century Fox's The Big Year, Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is the current reigning champion determined to hold on to his record. Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) is retiring from big business and treating himself to a year of birdwatching, and Brad Harris (Jack Black) is a computer programmer who is scrapping together both vacation time and money to check off as many birds as he can. The Big Year follows the three men as they pursue their goal of being the best birder in the world.
The movie stars three great comedic actors, and viewers are in for treat. One of the pleasant surprises about the film, however, is its depth. Not only is the scenery beautiful and birding aspects of The Big Year fascinating but the message to not give up on your dreams is universal. Kenny, Stu, and Brad learn, each in their own way, that success has many meanings. Follow your passion, and you cannot help but grow and learn something about your true self and what's most important in your life. A bonus is the fun bird-filled soundtrack.
The film is directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) and includes a cast of many recognizable faces, including Angelica Huston, Brian Dennehy, Rashida Jones, and Kevin Pollak. The Blu-ray and DVD will be available on January 31.
Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the following information and photos about some famous birders.
You don't have to be compiling your life bird list to enjoy The Big Year. It's a well-acted film that will make you want to spend time on your own hobbies, enjoy life, and--of course--keep your bird feeders full.Famous Birders
Brad, Kenny and Stu are not the only people fascinated by ornithology. They are joined by a well-known bunch of famous faces including Daryl Hannah, Paul McCartney & Prince Philip. Here, we’ll take a fun look at the array of celebrities who have a passion for feathered friends much like our leading men.
The Duke of Edinburgh is an accomplished bird photographer, writer, and wildlife advocate. Due to his extended time spent on the royal yacht, Prince Philip began photographing rare seabirds. In 1962, he published Birds from Britannia, a collection of pictures of some of the world’s rarest birds. Additionally, Prince Philip later became president of the World Wildlife Fund.
Daryl Hannah isn’t just an actress--she’s also an environmentalist and a birdwatcher! It is unknown whether Hannah is an avid or casual birdwatcher, but she has stated in interviews that she enjoys bird watching. Regardless of her level of activity in the bird watching arena, Hannah is a fierce advocate of the environment and of various species, birds included.
As a teenager, Paul McCartney was a big fan of the BBC nature show Look--he even wrote to its host (wildlife artist Peter Scott) asking for “the drawings of them ducks, if you’re not doing anything with them.” Since his youth, McCartney has been a passionate advocate for birds and other wildlife, including the endangered skylark, which he used to watch in Liverpool as a child.
Former president of the United States of America Jimmy Carter is an avid birder! Jimmy and his wife, Rosalyn, have birded throughout the world. Rumors in the birding community speculate that their combined life list is around 1,500 species! In interviews Jimmy has spoken about checking out bird ringing stations in Israel and searching for African Hoopoes in Zimbabwe.
Givaway alert: Stop by next week for a chance to win a copy of the The Big Year. Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for a review copy of the film.