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The Central Park Effect: A bird movie that gets it?


Playing now, as part of the film festival at the massive Austin, Texas, music festival South by Southwest, is the second bird themed movie of the last six months.  This one is unlikely to make birders cringe, though perhaps unlikely to make a profit either.

The Central Park Effect reveals the extraordinary array of wild birds who grace Manhattan’s celebrated patch of green and the equally colorful, full-of-attitude New Yorkers who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration. Acclaimed author Jonathan Franzen, an idiosyncratic trombone technician, a charming fashion-averse teenager, and a bird-tour leader who’s recorded every sighting she’s made since the 1940s are among the film’s cast of characters. Featuring spectacular wildlife footage capturing the changing seasons, this lyrical documentary transports the viewer to a dazzling world that goes all but unnoticed by the 38 million people who visit the park each year.

Reviews have been positive from all viewers, especially birders.  Ted Eubanks goes so far as to say this is the first movie that portrays birders properly.  High praise, and high expectations, indeed. Take a look at the trailer to see for yourself.

The Central Park Effect is playing once more at SXSW this Thursday afternoon. Whether or not it sees wider distribution remains to be seen.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. He is also the author of Birding for the Curious. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
  • Ted Floyd

    Wow. Real birders–like, people I know–in that trailer. Haven’t seen a movie in 5+ years, but I just might make an exception for this one. And I see Jet Blue’s trying to sell me a $68 ticket to Austin; hmm…

  • I so want to see this. Bring it on home to NYC!

  • I will definitely try and see this!

  • dobes

    It really is a beautiful, charming film. See it if you possibly can.

  • I do know that the movie is going to be shown next in NYC. Keep an eye out, and follow their blog at the following: No birder will regret seeing this wonderful little film.

  • Luke

    Looks like the movie has been picked up by HBO, which is great news. Hoping to see all the birding organizations getting behind this one as much as they did with The Big Year

  • What an incredible insight into the diversity living within our urban living! It’s so great to see people rallying around around the wildlife in NYC. Is there any other urban areas out there, that people know about?

    I ask as I am acting as the Chief Recess Officer for KEEN Footwear, and we’re looking for people’s favorite spots to get away from it all, including their favorite birding sites, in order to add to the global map we are developing. Here’s a link to the map, and feel free to add some places, I’m sure we missed a few…


  • steve

    Birders: The Central Park Effect will be shown on HBO Monday July 16 at 9pm (and presumably repeated thereafter across HBO).

  • I like this blogs.It is really beautiful.

  • chiris jerrycho

    The thing that you
    offer is worth our case and force.

  • Nunah Mikhail

    The Info
    in the blog is out of this world, I so want to read more.

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