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Birders: The Central Park Effect (2013)Birders: The Central Park Effect (2013)

I watched this delightful one-hour documentary after reading the new book by Scott Weidensaul, A World on the Wing; The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds (2021), and right after that meeting a serious birder who had traveled in 58 countries and sported a $4,000 pair of binoculars. We think of birds as needing the wild, but the "Central Park Effect" has documented how they have adapted themselves to urban areas. Central Park in Manhattan is just one example—it's a regular stopover in the migratory corridor of all sorts of species. As you would expect, this film features spectacular photography of some of the 200 (!) species of birds in Central Park, but the real treat are the birders themselves who talk about their love of birding that borders on an obsession: "I don't even think of it as a hobby," said one enthusiast. Starr Saphir has been leading bird walks in Central Park for thirty years. The author Jonathan Franzen explains his own passion for birds: "it's like a treasure hunt every morning, you never know what you are going to find." Most of these birders, though, are just everyday people like you and me who enjoy the hobby for the pure joy that it brings. I watched this film on Amazon Prime.

Dan Clendenin:

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