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Today is the 90th Academy Awards, and while I’m not one for the sorts of movies that typically get a lot of notice from esteemed critics, I do enjoy a good movie all the same (even more if it comes with a warm blanket on a comfy couch and a big bowl of popcorn). To celebrate, let’s look at some of the top bird-related movies and get ready to enjoy our feathered friends on the silver screen!
- Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds
The birds may not be very friendly in this classic thriller, but you can’t deny that they’re the stars of the show and it’s a great question to consider – what if the birds we love turned on us? I’ve been attacked by birds a few times, and even just with one feathered ball of fury seeking vengeance, it’s a harrowing experience. Imagine if you had the attention of an entire agitated flock!
- Happy Feet
For a more lighthearted look at agitated flocks, imagine a group of dancing penguins (yes, you read that right). While it might seem fanciful, this story of an outcast penguin actually highlights some grave concerns about Antarctic changes that impact penguins, and bird conservation and communication are also discussed. Several penguin species are part of the movie, each more adorable than the last.
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Owls are favorite birds for many birders, and the quirky owls in this fantasy story (based on a popular children’s book series) will quickly capture your heart. Different species of owls are depicted with unique characteristics that are true to their natures, and together they show what noble, amazing birds they can be as they seek to defend their territory, reunite as families and strengthen their flock.
A charming and colorful story of a flightless parrot who finds his wings in the wildest way, this movie also covers topics like endangered species, captive breeding and illegal bird poaching in ways that birders of any age can grasp and feel compassion about. This is a great way to introduce critical bird conservation ideas to everyone and encourage more ways to help all birds, no matter what species they may be.
- The Big Year
Most birders have chased a rare species or sought out a target bird once in awhile, but few have done big year chases with as much fervent gusto as the three competitors in this feathered comedy. Based on true big year chases and the best-selling book about them, this movie highlights just how competitive birding can be (all in good fun!) and the crazy steps birders might occasionally take to see that next new bird, with wacky results.
There are many other bird-related movies out there to enjoy; share your favorites in the comments and let’s build our own award-winning list for a feathered movie night!