Thursday, September 27, 2007

For the Birds

When I was studying biology at university our ornithology instructors always referred to the great horned owl as the "Hollywood Owl" -- it's the owl that always "hoots" on those dark, stormy and spooky nights in movies, regardless of whether the great horned owl lives within hooting range of the setting. This article, Movies Don't Give a Hoot, gives us a few more specifics. When I was having the illustrations for my book, Owls, checked over by an expert (who also happened to be an artist) he went on and on about "Harry Potter owls" and how they movie-made owls -- Hedwig and friends -- didn't fly quite right.

Here's another cool bird story -- a 15-year-old Malkolm Boothroyd and his parents head off for a birder's Big Year, which, traditionally, sees crazed birders flying around the world (several times often) to see who can get the largest number of species in one calendar year. (On that note, check out the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession, to get at the inner workings of some of these characters.) But this big year has a twist -- Malkolm and his parents are doing their Big Year on bikes, and are doing a truncated version, riding from Alaska to Calfornia. He's quite the artist, too. Check out their site, The Bird Year.

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