Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Big Summer

A few weeks ago, Luke, Paul, and I watched The Big Year featuring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. It's a delightful little film about extreme birding. I haven't read the book on which this film is based yet, but it's on the GoodReads to-read list! The Big Year is an annual contest where participants count how many different species of birds they see in a year. It's not a cheap endeavor. Extreme birding involves a ton of traveling to remote places to see rare and hard-to-find species.

 Luke used to love birds. For a long time, he never went anywhere without Stan Tekiela's Birds of Colorado. His copy is in tatters. I still buy him a bird book from every state that I visit and he has collected many bird field guides. We are heading to the Outer Banks for our Summer vacation and fortunately, we already own a Carolinas bird book!

  Anyway, after watching the movie, I challenged him to a Big Summer. I thought this might be a fun way for both of us to get back into bird-watching. Instead of a full year, we would count the birds we see just this summer. I showed him how to use the list function on his Ipod Touch and I'm keeping track of my birds on my phone. I even downloaded the free Ap of the Sibley Guide to Birds on my phone. Unfortunately, it's only a demo and it only has 30 birds species on the free version. I have never bought an ap for my phone, but I am considering buying this bird guide because I'll be able to see all the birds of North America!
We'll see who wins at the end of the summer. He won't tell me how many birds he's already seen. For the record, as of now, I have 11. It's a big bummer (not a big Summer) when I continue to see the same birds over and over.  (If you haven't already seen The Big Year, the winner had well over 700 bird species on his list.) I'll be lucky to hit 50!



Jennifer said...

Great idea~ I want to try this too. I just started the Bird program from Memoria Press. It's a little advanced for my 2nd grader, but it looks good so far!

Hippy Chick said...

I love that movie! I just watched it last month and it inspired me to start a life list of birds. Such a great movie!

Bird watching is so fun, especially with the kids. We really enjoy seeing who flutters in and out of our yard here in the foothills.

Great post!

Kelly said...

Oh, Carmie! I loved that movie, too! I was just telling my brother in-law about it last night. I splurged two years ago and bought the Peterson Guide to Backyard Birds and Peterson Guide to North American Birds. At the time I remember they were not cheap. Though, now, when I looked it up at the app store I see that the North America one is only .99 cents. It looks like they don't offer the Backyard one anymore. Bummer. We've used them both and enjoyed them.

I joke all the time with my husband about doing a big year and truth be told, I would love to be able to do it for real. It would be so much fun. I didn't know the movie was based on a book, so I am heading over to add it to my to-read list now.