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New movie 'The Big Year' is for the birds ... and birders

October 11, 2011 |  1:29 pm

NewbirdsBirdwatching, America’s favorite outdoor activity, is already in full flight, in the midst of one of its most important times of the year. And, with the upcoming release of "The Big Year," moviegoers may be flocking to theaters to see Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson lampoon the popular pastime's competitive side.

Now, the National Audubon Society has launched an Internet campaign in tandem with the feature film, which is based on a novel about three men who travel the country on a yearlong birdwatching adventure. Birding enthusiasts hope they can draw in new avian fans and perhaps alter the stodgy reputation of their sport.

Audubon is offering an online game in which bird watchers take expeditions and visit more than 100 websites to spot animated birds, which they add to their virtual life-lists. Players compete to win prizes.

The birds fly across homepages, perching on unexpected places, and by clicking on them the players will be directed to the Audubon Facebook page where they may collect and trade “bird cards.”

“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,” said the society's chief executive, David Yarnold.


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— Julie Cart

Photo: Bird watchers peer though their spotting scopes during the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society's second annual Owens Lake Spring Big Day in 2009. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times