About Greg Miller Birding
I’m so glad you stopped by my blog! Thanks! If you’re interested in birding or listing or traveling and stories behind the book, The Big Year, and the upcoming full motion picture by the same name—well, you have come to the right place. It is my hope to share my joy of birding with you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get the birding bug, too!
About Greg Miller
I have been birding since…umm…well I can’t remember because I was too young. I do not remember getting my first pair of binoculars or my first birding trip with my dad. It was my father that got me into birding at an early age. I have been birding for over 50 years and have birded in all 50 states and much of Canada. And I have always been smitten by the birding bug. I love to get outside and go find birds. Every trip out is an adventure!
In 1998 I zigzagged across the continent–traveling 130,000 miles while trying to hold down a full time job at a nuclear power plant–to try to see as many species of birds in one calendar year as possible. It was an incredible experience passing the 700-species mark—an achievement many birders aspire to in a lifetime. But there was competition. Two other birders, Sandy Komito and Al Levantin also did Big Years the same year as me and also broke the 700-mark. Our competitive quests are documented in the 2004 non fiction book, The Big Year, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Mark Obmascik. And unbelievably, Twentieth Century Fox made a full feature motion picture inspired by the book! It has A-list actors Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson and a really strong support cast. It was produced by Ben Stiller and directed by David Frankel (who also did Marley & Me and The Devil Wears Prada). Worldwide release date was October 14, 2011. It is available now on both DVD & Blu-ray as of January 31, 2012 and became available on both Netflix & Redbox on February 28, 2012.
I had the fortunate opportunity to be the Bird Consultant for the movie, The Big year. It was filmed in spring & summer of 2010. I was on the set for 3 weeks with many of the actors and crew and got a chance to meet the stars, Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. It was truly a treat to watch the movie being made and to have a part in the creation of a story for the silver screen.
I currently live in Sugarcreek in the heart of Amish Country in Northeast Ohio. You can read more about the community I live in by clicking the link below:
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I just saw the movie. Fantastic..I just wish burrowing owls were featured in the movie or maybe a snail kite , can’t wait to show movie to my family
Great! I’m glad you enjoyed the movie. I would have loved to see more birds in the movie, too. But then after about 38 hrs or so, most other people may lose some interest. 🙂
Just saw the movie last week and loved it so much I bought the book and now am reading that! Damn, excellent movie and the book so far is great. Funny thing is I work at the Metlife building in manhattan in NYC and we have Peregrin falcons nesting in our coolingtower roof area and I have been able to take some awesome pics of the falcon. Especially when it perched two feet in front of me on my tool room window and just stood there looking at me for an hour! I have some good pics that I would love to send you. Let me know. Goodluck! And no I am not a birder, someday perhaps.
Peregrine Falcons are *ALWAYS* cool. You can send pics to me at gregmillerbirding AT gmail.com (substitute @ for AT).
Sent pics and also of one with me and the falcon
I had read the book a few years ago and loved every word of it! I saw the movie close to its initial opening and was mesmerized and thrilled thoughout it. It affected me on an emotional level so intensely that when I came out I couldn’t speak, knowing that I’d break down. My wife and I got some food in the food court in the mall where the theater was, and I just sat there. We always say grace before meals, but I couldn’t open my mouth. My wife realized what was going on and said the prayer. I kept fighing back tears, not really understanding why. It was a little embarrassing. It was just a birding movie. But nature affects me that way. I can’t explain it. But I thank God for the incredible beauty of this home He designed for us! God bless you, Greg!
Hi Greg, I wonder if there are basic rules for doing a big year posted somewhere. My girlfriend and I are doing it just for fun. When we go hiking and do nature stuff we’re not sure of some of the basic rules such as do we need to be together in one spot for it to count, or can we be separate from each other. Do you have to actually see the bird for it to count or can you just hear it. So we were wondering if there is a set of guidelines or something posted that we can refer to when we have questions about our findings. It’s been fun so far.
The rules followed by those who list competitively are listed at the American Birding Association’s website (http://www.aba.org). Here is a direct link to the rules: http://listing.aba.org/aba-recording-rules/
I thought you would want to know that your Ruby Mountains helicopter pilot, Ted McBride, died this week in a copter crash. The report is at: http://www.elynews.com/news/article_3a593976-7ab8-11e2-a5a3-001a4bcf887a.html I recognize the name from the book (just read) and material about him on your website. Too bad he wasn’t the pilot featured in the film. His family has been quoted (see Las Vegas Review Journal) as saying that he died doing what he loved best. He got to retire in 2009. Alas, I missed the snow cock when at 10,000 feet in the Rubys and East Humboldt Mountains doing rephotography of Timothy O’Sullivan’s 1868 photography. But my wrangler, Walt Gardner, has shown the birds to folks on pack trips.
Thank you for sharing this. This is sad news indeed. But it does bring back some fond memories of the adventures of The Big Year. Ted would have been great as the pilot in the movie. And I did get the helicopter ride of my life into the Ruby Mountains in 1998. He will be missed.
I really enjoyed the movie, and the book is on my summer reading list. I really loved hearing you speak at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus last fall, and also again at the Ohio Bluebird Society’s annual conference in February. You have an amazing way of weaving the story of your life and general storytelling into birding. Nature and Birding have also provided me a much-needed escape in my life, and currently I manage a number of bluebird box trails and hope to get up to northwest Ohio to see some awesome warblers and migrating birds this spring. It’s amazing what you learn when you step into the world of birds…
I just finished reading the book “The Big Year” tonight. It is the best book I have read for a long time. I love all three main characters, but I have to admit, I was most moved by you.
It is quite an honor to write to you and I salute you for chasing your dreams in the face of great obstacles and giving all you could give with no regrets. I am really happy to see that you are now doing full time what you love.
A question, sort of an invertly related to your posts on blogs on data wrangling.
Do you now how to take the excel data and regenerate the kinds of bar grafts that ebird uses.
I would dearly like to make a cut down version of the ebird thing for some things
I will have more tutorials on eBird soon.
Looking forward to interviewing you tomorrow on
BirdTalk radio. Listeners all over the known universe can follow it streaming on 710knus.com at 8:00am MST.
David, I’m a little late to the game here. I enjoyed the interview! You guys have a great sense of humor.
Hi Greg, Thanks for posting your three blogs with the Impatient Birders Guide to North America. They are terrific and very helpful. My wife and I meet you about two years ago on one of Debbie Shearwaters pelagic trips. I asked you about the best place for spotting the Mountain Quail, and you provided helpful advice about visiting the Yosemite area in late spring. Now, with the IBG to North America, I can quickly find useful information on other birds. Many thanks, Barry