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Audubon Would Be So Proud

Contributing Editor Jordan Schaul briefly reviews The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

Light-footed clapper rail (Joel Sartore/National Geographic Image Collection)














Last night I wandered into a theater in Anchorage to see what was playing. I literally heard a flock of trumpeter swans overhead as I hurried out of the cold into the cinema.

Could it have been a coincidence?  It must have been fate….

Regardless, I was astounded to learn that a new genre had emerged at the nexus of comedy and natural history. To think how much more I would have paid attention in school had my organismal biology classes been instructed by the likes of Owen Wilson.

Are you kidding me? Owen Wilson? Birding? l was willing to pay a lot more at the box office than I did to see this brilliant comedian add a light-footed clapper rail to his life-list.  He doesn’t really, but the movie is a trip!

It turns out that the feature film wasn’t as funny as it was educational. I don’t want to give anything away, but the movie makes reference to a number of National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and other protected wilderness areas. It was actually a great tribute to the ornithofauna of North America and the protected lands that provide sanctuary for these beautiful birds.

Cross Sir David Attenborough with Jungle Jack Hanna and you get some idea of what awaits you at the theater this holiday season.

I highly recommend this film for the family. If anything, it will inspire you to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.