Dear David Frankel & Red Hour Films, Hey, I hear you are making a movie of the book The Big Year, a fun read about three guys who competed to see the most bird species in North America in a calendar year. News is leaking that you have lined up Jack Black and Owen Wilson and quite possibly Steve Martin to star as the three leads--kudos! I like all three actors and can't wait to see what you do with it.
But I'm writing this to ask you a huge favor. Can you please try to be accurate with the birds in picture. I'm not asking for much maybe just don't play a red-tailed hawk call for all the bald eagles and the vultures (perhaps that is too much). Don't make up bird names and at least get in the ball park of what a species looks like. I'll understand on somethings, like if you get your gulls mixed up (happens to all of us) or if you make all the empidonax flycatchers look the same (cause let's face it, they kinda do) but if they boys are supposed to be looking a red-cockaded woodpecker, please don't show a pileated woodpecker instead--we'll know the difference. According to US Fish & Wildlife, one in five of us Americans are watching birds, we'll know. You might hire a consultant to double check your birds. I'm not saying you need to hire Kenn Kaufman or David Sibley (awesome choices though), but maybe you could find a local birder where you are filming to help you out? Maybe check with the good folks at Cornell Lab of Ornithology--they could probably help you with some stock footage of birds and their sounds!
Also, it would really mean a lot if all of the birders in the film didn't look like Jane Hathaway and if you could refrain from having Owen Wilson wear a Tilley Hat (no one looks good in those).
We birders want to support this movie, we're really pulling for you. It's awesome to see birding in the mainstream. Good luck to you and don't forget some of us bird bloggers when you do your promotions!
Sharon Stiteler, Birdchick