My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

The Big Year

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Birder extraordinaire – Greg Miller

By: Pat Coate

Enjoyed meeting and birding with Greg Miller, one of the birders that the book and movie The Big Year was based on, at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute Birding Festival. His character was played by Jack Black in the movie. Found Greg to be a very down-to-earth, genuine, humble guy who was a wonderful keynote speaker who appealed to birders and non-birders (my husband) alike. He discussed how he got into birding (largely his father), why he decided to go for the big year (way to deal with challenges in his personal life) and lots of anecdotes from both the big year and the filming of the movie, for which he was a consultant.

One of the many stories he told was that Jack Black wanted to go birding with him – to watch birds but mostly to watch Greg watching birds. The actor asked Greg what the name of a black bird they saw was – to which Greg said “red-winged blackbird.” Jack started to ask why it is called that – and on cue the bird showed its colors eliciting an ‘OOOOHHHHHH!’

One of the key places for spring migration on the big year circuit is Magee Marsh in northern Ohio. I got the chance to visit there last week and will show some offseason pictures from the area next week.


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