If you’re a serious birder, you’re familiar with “The Big Year,” the 2011 movie with Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, in which which obsessed birders compete for record sightings of rare and common birds. It depicts the passion that can overcome most anyone that gets caught up in the pastime (very funny movie trailer here).
William B. Umstead State Park is planning its own big year in 2014. The park will be holding an informal competition among birders – experienced and beginner – to see who can see or hear the most birds in a calendar year. To get the newbies started, rangers and interpreters will be holding public programs throughout the year on identification, creating backyard habitats, birding by ear and birding for beginners.
A “Happy Birds” game will launch in January with various ways to earn points and potentially win prizes by sighting bird species. There’ll be monthly winners as well as a 2014 champion.
If you’ve always wondered what all the fuss is about, here’s your chance to find out. But be careful; obsession may be only a birdcall away.