The Big Year (2011) Script

(CRICKETS CHIRPING)

(BIRDS TWITTERING)

NARRATOR: By the standards of the Yucatén jungle, the female ruby-throated hummingbird is a plain Jane.

In the weeks leading to her migration, she eats almost continuously.

To survive the journey, she must double her body weight.

The sooty shearvvater, on the other hand, must lose weight before setting out on his first migration from Tasmania.

His goal, to shed half his body weight.

The North American programmer would be content to lose just a few pounds.

But the task is difficult.

He has a demanding job, a brutal schedule, precious little willpower, and an all-consuming secret life.

Yo! Big bad Brad. Mmm?

What you rocking out to, man?

Um...

MALE VOICE: Clark's nutcracker.

(BIRD CHIRPING)

NARRATOR: He is a birder. A man obsessed.

Rock on.

Rock on, Prasad.

NARRATOR: Nothing in nature inspires anything like his passion for birds.

Not even the female of his own species.

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird Bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word A-well-a, bird, bird, bird- - -

Hello? Brad?

Hey, Vicki? Hi, I was just thinking about you Look, there's something I've got to tell you.

I'm getting married again.

And we're announcing it tonight and I didn't want you to hear it from just somebody.

Brad? Are you still there?

Yeah. That is great. Congratulations. I was just taking it in. That is good news. Thanks.

I'm sorry, I'm a little distracted.

Because I've got some pretty huge news of my own, actually.

I'm gonna do a Big Year.

Great!

Yeah. What is that again?

What's a Big Year?

(JAZZ MUSIC PLAYING)

NARRATOR: Well into the 19th century, Americans celebrated Christmas Day with contests to kill the most birds in a single day.

In 1900, Audubon Society ornithologist Frank Chapman suggested Americans should count them instead, leading eventually to the creation of the Big Year, a competition to see the greatest number of birds in North America in a calendar year.

(EXCLAIMING) Whoa!

In 2003, New Jersey roofing contractor Kenny Bostick's Big Year resulted in an astonishing 732 species, breaking Sandy Komito's North American record.

Many believe that Bostick's record of 732 would stand forever, especially Mrs. Bostick.

JESSICA: A Big Year?

Kenny, you promised me you were never gonna do another Big Year.

Jess, I'm just going out to set the pace.

I promise I'll be back as soon as I'm sure there's no one out there who can break my record.

Your record. What's the big deal?

The big deal? Hey, "Lance Armstrong, what's the big deal?"

Or, hey, "Columbus, what's the big deal with that whole New World thing?"

Didn't you tell me that a Big Year killed your marriage to Steph in '03?

First of all, I was married to Bridget in '03.

Didn't you tell me that a Big Year killed your marriage to Bridget?

A contributing factor, but, no, not the main reason.

There were so many other problems with that marriage.

Kenny, I'm getting fertility treatments! And you promised.

You said you were gonna build a new room for the baby.

I know. That was before El Niño.

Now I'm really worried someone's gonna try to beat 732.

NARRATOR: The reigning king is right to worry.

Somebody is going to try to be beat 732.

But the programmer is not the only challenger for the title.

Two hundred miles north, another fanatical birder is also making plans for a Big Year.

We're still nowhere on the deal.

Chemwall won't budge on any key points.

Mclntire used to work for you.

Maybe if you negotiated with him directly...

Sorry, guys. January 1st, I'm outta here.

Oh, right, you're retiring again.

Again.

This time I mean it.

Next year is all about the birds.

Edith's already in Colorado setting up the new house.

So live in the new house and work from home.

Use the jet. I mean, it's your jet It's your company! JIM: Forget the birds.

You're big boys now. You'll be fine without me.

You realize, of course, that the phase after retirement looks a little bit like this.

NARRATOR: The CEO is frustrated by the persistence of his migrating instinct into late adulthood.

Am I nuts, Edith? Maybe I should do my Big Year next year.

It might make more sense.

No. Go do it now, Stu.

Carpe annum!

Seize the... Year.

So that's it?

Complete support?

You're not even gonna try and stop me?

Stu, I love you, and I will miss you dearly when you're away.

But you have been dreaming about this since you were a little boy, and I am not gonna stand between you and your greatest passion.

Not my greatest passion.

ALL: Three, two, one! Happy New Year!

Hey.

Excuse me! Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.

I just want to make a little toast to my folks.

Hey, okay.

To my dad, who proved today that he can still kick my ass on skis.

Hey, I let you win a few just to keep you hanging around.

My childhood in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.

(ALL LAUGHING)

And to my mom, who had the vision and confidence to design a house with enough room for grandchildren.

MAN: Hear, hear.

If you build it, they will come.

Yes, and in this case, sometime around the middle of May.

(EXCLAIMING)

Yes! Rea“Y?

That's why she was tossing her cookies all month.

You're not the only one having a big year, Dad.

Congratulations. Hey.

WOMAN: NARBA hot-line. Give your code word at the beep.

(BEEP)

Great gray owl.

There has been a second spotting of the Nutting's flycatcher in Patagonia Lake State Park.

You ready? To the bottom?

You're on, old man. We'll see about that.

Edith, count us off.

On your mark. Get set. Go!

You'd think they'd be exhausted by now.

They're men, dear. If they ever stop competing, they die.

NARRATOR: The reigning king knows few have the time, resources or expertise to challenge him.

Some have already fallen by the wayside due to injury.

(GROANS)

While others have seen their nest eggs depleted.

Dad! I got into Yale!

Still, the reigning king knows that potential rivals lurk around every tree and bush.

Bingo.

(CAMERAS CLICKING)

What would you guys do without me?

You okay?

Magpie!

Raven!

Pine grosbeak.

(UNENTHUSIASTICALLY) Yay!

Spot something rare for me.

You know I will.

(HOOTING)

(CAMERA CLICKS)

BRENDA: I have some exciting news.

I'm gonna be working as a travel agent again.

For who?

For Brad.

I'm handling his travel for the next year.

Travel? Travel where?

I'm doing a Big Year, Dad.

Spending the year trying to see as many different species of bird as I can.

I've been dreaming about this for a long time.

This is my year.

I've saved 5 grand and I'm gonna need five more, and I was wondering if you'd consider sponsoring me?

Sponsoring you.

I'd pay you back. With interest.

Think of it as an investment. An investment.

Yeah, sure. Yeah, definitely.

Yeah, it sounds like a great investment.

I just hope word doesn't get out.

All the neighbors will want a piece of the action.

(PLATE CLANGS)

You know what? Forget it. I'm gonna do it myself, so...

You're 36 years old!

You quit grad school. You quit your job at Dell.

You quit your marriage.

Sooner or later, you're gonna have to actually do something with your life!

This is what I'm doing!

But I guess you got it all figured out.

That's why your whole life has been nothing but bliss!

Bill, Tower One's good to go.

I'll debug the rest when I get back Monday.

Yeah, that bird thing, right? Yeah.

Listen, I'll pay you time-and-a-half to work this weekend and catch us up.

That'd pay for a lot of airfare, right?

Thanks, Bill, but I'm already getting a late start as it is.

So, what do you win? Is there prize money?

No prize money, but the birdseed endorsements are huge.

Seriously? No.

Okay, so why do you do it?

It's kind of hard to explain.

You know what's hard to explain? To them?

A core meltdown of the new reactor that irradiates the entire Atlantic coast.

Okay. Shit.

Double-time. And that's unprecedented.

Okay. But I am definitely leaving on the 20th.

WOMAN: NARBA hot-line. Give your code word at the beep.

Red-tailed hawk.

A Xantus's hummingbird has been seen in a backyard in Gibsons, British Columbia.

The Xantus's is Code Five.

(BELL RINGING)

How do you do, ma'am? I was wondering if...

The hummingbird's out there now.

Let me just get you the key to the gate.

Oh! Fantastic.

I've been meaning to ask one of you people, do you have to get a snapshot of the bird? Is that a rule?

No. Believe it or not, it's all on the old-fashioned honor system.

But you just have to say you saw it?

No. In fact, if you can recognize a bird by its song, you just have to hear it.

Oh.

But I see everybody with a camera.

You really want a photograph if it's a rare one, same as you would the Taj Mahal.

Oh! Stay on the path.

I'll bring it right back.

(CELL PHONE RINGING)

This is Stu. Stu, it's Barry.

I'm here with Jim and the lawyers.

We just need a little help. Stu. Stu?

Stu? (GRUNTS)

STU: Goddamn it!

I hope we're not catching you at a bad time.

As a matter of fact...

Look, we need a little expert guidance.

We have reached an impasse with Chemwall.

They don't... It's going south, Stu.

They don't want to give up their production facilities in Nevada.

Hold out. Their R & D is prehistoric.

It's all about the real estate. Look, I gotta go.

I'm about to miss a Code Five.

No, no...

(LINE DISCONNECTS)

What the hell's he talking about?

Birds.

(GRUNTING DISAPPOINTEDLY)

(BIRD CHIRPING)


BRAD: "One of the greatest birders I've ever seen"?

Me?

Crane, I'm touched.

Do you ever think about doing a Big Year?

You could be the next Bostick.

(CHIRPING)

NARRATOR: The programmer has developed a remarkable ability.

Western tanager.

(GRUNTS)

(SIGHS)

He can recognize hundreds of species by sound alone.

Hey, all you birders. I'm Annie Auklet.

If you haven't sailed with me before, yep, that's my real name.

I love those seabirds so damn much, I had it legally changed in 1990.

(MEN LAUGHING)

Now a couple of rules.

If you can't swim, wear a life jacket.

Rule number two,

I'm in charge of this itinerary.

And if you have a problem with that, you can take your candy-colored butt and put it right back in the rental car.

All right. Come on, line up.

What was that all about?

Back in '03, Annie stopped a boat to look at a whale and Bostick led a mutiny.

Look, no one paid to see Shamu!

Get the hell off my bridge!

Just show us something with some feathers or let me steer this thing!

Now you're gonna cut me? Get off my bridge, pal!

'Cause we won't look at your whale?

I'll use you for chum!

You're crazier than a road lizard!

He kind of had a point.

No, he is in violation of all the unwritten rules for decorum and civility.

Yeah, well, maybe that's what it takes to be the greatest birder on Earth.

Or maybe it just takes adding a few birds to your list that perhaps you never saw.

Whoa. Are you saying Bostick's a cheater?

I'm just saying it'd be wise to keep your eye on the sparrow.

BOY: That record'll never be broken.

Yep. Thanks, man.

Thanks, man! Thanks.

Now, why would I help a pig like you win another Big Year, Bostick?

Because if he were trying to do another Big Year, a pig like me wouldn't want any help.

But I'm not, Annie. I'm just looking.

Just trying to reconnect with that little boy who fell in love with blue jays and mourning doves a million years ago.

You're not gonna deny me that.

Come on, have a heart.

Just stay the hell off my bridge.

Deal.

(MIMICS BIRD HOOTING)

Western screech owl.

Capital. Yes.

You. Okay.

(MIMICS BIRD SCREECHING)

Red-shouldered hawk.

Close, but no cigar. Red-tailed hawk?

Yes! You, sir, win the stogie.

(BIRDS SQUAWKING)

MAN: Straight, straight ahead.

Kittiwake!

NARRATOR: The reigning king's hackles are raised.

As with most alpha males, his instinct for potential rivals is keen.

He lulls his prey, then pounces.

Seasickness? I feel for you. That's the worst.

These usually help.

Yeah, some people say they're just a placebo. Who knows?

Oh! Here we go!

Cod liver oil.

Attracts birds like honey, but smells like fried cat puke.

Sorry, shouldn't have said "puke." Won't bother me.

Lost my sense of smell in a chem lab explosion years ago.

That's lucky.

Now, you want to be careful with those binocs.

'Cause once you lose sight of that horizon, you can get lost.

And then you're done for, 'cause all you feel is the pitching and tossing.

Pitching and tossing. Pitching and tossing.

I'm fine. I'm fine.

Hey, anybody up for a little fish-head sushi?

(MEN LAUGHING)

KENNY: Mmm.

Pitching and tossing.

Pitching and tossing.

Pitching and tossing.

Whoa! (RETCHING)

You guys got a rag or something?

There we go.

Maybe one with not so much fish guts on it?

BRAD: You okay?

It's not easy being green.

(LAUGHS)

NARRATOR: Weather and planning are deemed the factors most essential to a successful Big Year.

But happenstance and instinct are just as vital.

Hey, did you get a chance to see that black-footed albatross?

I sure did. Thanks.

I'll leave you at peace.

No, actually, it helps to talk.

But I wouldn't want you to miss any birds.

Ah! We're headed back.

Besides, if there's anything important, I'll know

'cause I can recognize them all by ear.

No.

Oh, yeah. Really?

(SQUAWKING)

What's that?

That's Bostick imitating a herring gull.

Splendid! Great!

Bostick. I have him to thank for this.

What do you mean?

He psyched me out. Made me seasick.

I think he thinks I'm doing a Big Year.

That is hardcore.

Are you doing a Big Year?

No. You?

KENNY: Come on, let's speed it up!

The lad inside says there's a suitable hotel on the 101, halfway to Mount Shasta.

Hotel? What, you think a snowy owl's just gonna wait for us? Uh-uh.

Only reason why I invited you was so we can drive straight through. Chop, chop!

(TIRES SCREECH)

BRENDA: I can get you 10% off the hotel in Savannah.

And I can put you on a direct flight, but it's $100 more.

Better stay with the two layovers then.

And your dad wants to talk to you.

No. No, Mom. Mom, no. BRENDA: Yeah. Oh!

He's grabbing the phone!

Yeah. He's grabbing the phone!

No, no, no. Don't hand it to him.

Mom? Mom. I don't want to talk to him. Yeah!

Yeah!

Where is our world traveler today?

Oregon. Looking for seabirds.

Oregon. I guess everybody needs a vacation.

It's not a vacation, Dad.

It's not work.

Unless somebody's paying you to stay in hotels and look at birds.

Dad! Okay, okay, okay, you're right. I'm sorry.

I guess I'm just kind of confused about what a vacation is.

Okay, Dad, you know what? I gotta run.

Hey. Hey. Brad?

Great talking to you.

(SCREECHING)

(HONKING)

(SCREAMS)

Dear God.

Probably could have used another cup of coffee.

(BIRD PECKING)

I think I broke my arm.

(SHUSHING) Shut up.


NARRATOR: In nature, the difference between life and death is very often a matter of pure chance.

Unbelievable.

This is the rarest bird I've ever seen.

It's like we were meant to crash here.

We were.

NARRATOR: The reigning king has survived a near-fatal crash, only to stumble upon a great spotted woodpecker, a Code Four for him.

There is no greater proof of the righteousness of his crusade.

All of a sudden your arm doesn't feel so broke, does it?

You could chop my arm off.

How's the conference?

How bad could it be?

It's Paris. How's it going there?

Glorious! Dawn just broke.

Tamaulipas crows'll be here any minute.

I'm happy for you. But I wish you were here.

(LAUGHS) You're just jealous.

Mmm. Green.

What was that?

I'm renovating.

Again? I thought we just got done redoing the whole house.

Uh-huh. But not the upstairs and the kitchen.

Whoa, the kitchen?

I thought we had an agreement that we were gonna wait on doing the kitchen.

I thought you agreed to wait to do another Big Year.

Jess, I've told you, the birds wait for no man.

And neither do I.

So I had to hire Frank Falucci, seeing as you're so busy.

You hired my competitor? That's gonna drag on forever.

No, 'cause I said to Frank that I'd give him a bonus if he was done by April.

A bonus?

All right, but, jeez, babe, please, you've got to keep an eye on this.

You cannot trust contractors.

I'm well aware, honey.

Okay, so is it old man Frank in charge of the job, or is it his kind of good-looking son who's doing it?

He's not that good-looking. Where are you, anyway?

I'm in Wyoming. I got to bag a sage grouse.

Is it beautiful there? No.

It's hot and dusty. It's a real dump.

STU: Ketchup potato chip?

Ketchup potato chip? (CHOKING)

Ketchup potato chip? No, thank you.

You want a ketchup potato chip?

No?

BARRY: This is what happens to retirees, Stu.

They lose their minds.

Hey, look, everybody! Vultures!

(COUGHING)

You have to handle the negotiations yourselves.

I told you, I'm done.

The company is your baby, sir, and it's in trouble.

Yeah, and your baby's wandered into the street.

And there are cars coming.

Your baby needs you, Stu.

Save your baby!

You guys are pathetic.

Two days. Two. That's all we're asking.

Just till the deal's closed.

And you'll never hear from us again.

Two days. Then I'm done.

You got it. Two days in New York and then you migrate.

Migrate!

See, you're not the only one with a sense of humor.

Yes, I am.

NARRATOR: The time has come for the ruby-throated hummingbird.

While other species migrate in aerodynamic flocks or majestic "V's, " she flies alone.

Tonight, this bird who typically eats every 20 minutes just to stay healthy, must cross 500 miles of featureless blackness, high above the Gulf of Mexico.

Weeks of sustained eating have prepared her for the journey, an innate, unerring sense of direction tells her where to go, but nothing can prepare her for bad weather.

Bad weather is the deadly wild-card for every bird who migrates.

(THUNDER RUMBLING)


Falucci.

Long time no see, Bostick. You remember my kid Frank Jr.

It's a beautiful place you got here, sir.

Yeah, it was.

All right, Falucci, I'm gonna be going over your time sheets like a hawk, so you might want to ease up on the snack breaks.

Your wife wasn't exaggerating.

Everything with you is birds, Bostick!

Yeah, it is.

Jess?

Jess?

No. No! What the...

Jess?

Hello, stranger. This is a rare sighting. Hi.

Yeah. What have you done to our house?

Do you like it so far? So far?

Please don't tell me there's more to come! This is crazy!

Are you trying to get my attention? It worked.

Is that the point of all this?

I don't know. I don't know, Kenny. What is the point?

I'm surprised to still see this room standing, that you didn't take a sledgehammer to this.

I'm supposed to put my life on hold for a year?

Like a pathetic golf widow?

You're not a golf widow. You can't compare golf to this.

Golf's just like a hobby.

And the birding is what exactly?

I don't know, it's like a calling. This is like my calling.

Like Gandhi?

No, come on. I'm not comparing myself to Gandhi, okay?

That's ridiculous. Okay? It's more like I'm Mozart, I guess.

Okay, fine. You got a calling. I got a calling, too.

It's known as a baby. Yeah.

I know. I like to think that that's like another one of my callings, too.

And you're gonna have to contribute, you realize, eventually.

I realize. In person.

Yes. In person. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Really? 'Cause I ain't so sure, Wolfgang.

Maybe I can convince you.

I didn't mean now.

Come on. What's the matter with now?

'Cause we have a house full of men.

Just pretend they're not there.

(LOUD WHIRRING)

Okay, pretend that we don't care that they're there.

I'm pretending.

WEATHERMAN ON TV: ...throughout much of the Southwest, spreading all the way into the Pacific Northwest.

Now, for those of you in the Southeast, Texas will be experiencing high winds this morning, as this storm moves very quickly south into the Gulf of Mexico.

If you're planning to be anywhere in the Gulf today, better batten down the hatches.

We are talking about a storm that may last for 72 hours.

Look at these waves, these winds, and strong storms. Fallout.

We are talking hurricane-force winds. Kenny.

I know this is bad. I know this makes me look like a world-class asshole, but, babe, I gotta go.

Kenny! Kenny!

Kenny!

I'll call you!

Bill? Don't say no. I'm going to Texas.

I'm getting on a plane right now.

Texas? You just got back.

Bill! There is going to be major fallout in a few hours.

Nuclear fallout?

Bird fallout.

What are you talking about?

I'm talking about a major storm hitting the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of migration season.

I'm talking about headwinds and downpours and a hundred thousand birds literally dropping from the sky!

I'll put it down as a sick day.

Stu. Hey.

Where you going? Texas.

Texas? Now? What about Mclntire? How do we explain this?

Act of God.

Act of God? No! That's not gonna work! Stop this car! Stop this car!

Those damn birds!

NARRATOR: Sixteen hours have brought Ruby within 20 miles of shore.

But the tailwind that carried her all this way is suddenly a headwind blowing from the north.

Now she must work twice as hard to go half as far.

The storm has knocked her from a migrating altitude of 1,000 feet to a mere six feet.

She can't swim. One dip, and she's gone.

The programmer arrives on the outskirts of Houston, feeling for once that luck is on his side.

I'm starting to think I have a chance.

The roving CEO is also buoyant after escaping his obligations in New York.

I really believe I can win this thing.

The reigning king, not surprisingly, is extremely confident.

Yes! Yes! I really think I've got this thing locked up.

All three have done the math.

They know what spring fallout means.

A world record is within their grasp.

(CLAMORING)

Whoa!

Unbelievable.

Oh, my God.

REPORTER: Faced with that headwind, they have to come down at the first land they see, and that's right here.

One thing's for sure, today's happening is strictly for the birds. Gretchen.

Come on, guys, get... Keep it moving!

Come on, we got a lot of birds to see.

Bloody ass. Only Americans can turn birding into a competition!

That's right. You don't want to miss this one!

What?

Brad! Stu!

I knew you'd be here. I was looking for you.

Me, too. This is incredible, isn't it'?

I know. Where do we even start?

There's the best birder in the world. Maybe we should...

Follow him.

(LET IT SHINE PLAYING)

(INAUDIBLE)

STU: Prothonotary warbler.

(EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY)

Gotcha.

Oh! Blue grosbeak.

It's a buffet.

(SINGING) So I play what the kids wanna hear While I spange on Broadway Shine, let it shine Even if it burns your eyes This light of mine is mine And I'm gonna let it shine...

Ever get the feeling you're being followed?

Hello, master.

How you doing, Stu?

Still filling those weekends, I see.

Unless you and your son here are doing a Big Year.

(CHUCKLES) Oh! Kenny Bostick, this is my friend Brad Harris.

Who's also not doing a Big Year.

That's funny how nobody's doing a Big Year.

Yeah. With all this fallout and El Niño.

Yeah, I know, you'd think the conditions are just set up perfect for someone to have a real shot at breaking my record.

Not that record. Pink-footed goose!

Pink-footed goose, other end of the boardwalk.

What the hell's that doing here?

MAN: Be careful!

Hey, put her down!

Hey, hey, please, let the explorers through!

Of course. Let's go, ladies. Jeesh.

After you, kids.

Get those badges.

Chop, chop, chop, chop! Step it up! Stepping lively!

Move it along!

Thank you.

She took off. Headed north. Probably be in Iceland by Friday.

Boy, she was a beaut, too!

Hey, is that a Calliope?

Just another ruby-throated.

On everybody's list by March.

Sorry to disappoint you boys again.

NARRATOR: Not just another ruby-throated, but our ruby.

Drenched and diminished, frail and trembling, but alive.

Alive! Alive!

Good evening. Tonight's special is quail. I highly recommend it.

I couldn't.

Yeah, not tonight.

I'll have the halibut.

And a bottle of this Montrachet.

Of course.

And I will have the soup. Thank you.

Really? After being outside all day in the wind and rain?

Kind of a light eater.

And the truth is the prices here are a little steeper than I'm used to.

Brad, I invited you to dinner. I know, but...

No, it's my pleasure.

Look, when I'm birding, I don't fly first class or hire guides.

It's too much like corked bats and steroids to me.

But tonight we're celebrating.

We saw 136 species!

Brad, 136!

Here's to them.

And to the one who got away.

Pink-footed goose.

The Montrachet.

Good. And my friend would like to see the menu again, please.

WAITER: Of course.

Cool.

That shrimp scampi was calling my name, if you must know.

That's a little too much. Okay.

NARRATOR: In the afterglow of their extraordinary day, the programmer and the roving CEO forge a warm friendship deeply rooted in their shared passion.

I mean, I'm 36.

I'm divorced.

I have a job I hate.

I just want to do something big, you know? Make my mark.

So what are you gonna do?

I'm working on something. (EXCLAIMS DISMISSIVELY)

My dad doesn't get it.

He's had the same boring job for 40 years.

"That's what people do," he says.

He's right.

Most people just stay on the beaten path, then one day, they wake up and realize they didn't do everything they wanted to do.

Look at me. I was so afraid to retire, I had to do it twice before I finally got out here.

Why'd you wait so long?

'Cause I'm an idiot.

Okay, I gotta tell you.

I'm doing a Big Year.

Wow.

I know.

NARRATOR: The retired CEO faces a dilemma.

He feels true kinship with the programmer.

Should he divulge his own Big Year?

Don't tell anybody, okay?

But with the exception of certain pernicious bacteria, Homo sapiens is the most competitive species on Earth.

Mum's the word.

We won't have to eat for a week.

I'm hurting.

Great dinner.

Good luck.

Thanks again.

Hey, it's me, Mozart.

The fallout's over and now I'm calling to deal with the fallout from the fallout.

Look, babe, I'm sorry. I'm gonna make it up to you, you'll see.

I'm going to...

Where are you, anyway? It's late there.

I hope you're okay, babe. Oh! Where am I?

I'm shooting hormones into my butt so I can have your baby, Kenny.

Okay, I'm going to hit the sack here, but I will try you in the morning, and I'm gonna be launching a new thing called Operation Sweep Her Off Her Feet.

So, you might want to get ready, 'cause it's gonna be pretty spectacular.

Okay? All right. Talk to you tomorrow.

Pomarine jaeger, nine o'clock!

Brad.

Brad! No.

Oh! Sorry. Sorry.


CRANE: "Met a dapper white-haired guy who was really seasick

"on a pelagic near Coos Bay.

"Got a peek at his list.

"Four hundred and ninety-seven species as of May 8.

"He's definitely doing a Big Year.

"If he doesn't barf himself to death."

STU: I still feel like a heel. Feel like I led him on.

But I'm afraid if he knew about my Big Year, Bostick'd get it out of him eventually.

And why is it so important to keep this secret from Bostick?

Less competition he thinks he has, the more he's likely to throttle back, not try so hard.

Not grind for the extra birds.

Maybe I could sneak past him.

Do whatever it takes to set that record, honey.

You know how much it means to me.

(LAUGHING) I miss you, doll.

What are you doing this weekend?

I could get us a room in Saint Paul, not far from the Sax Zim Bog.

Really! Not far from the bog.

Wow, you do know how to woo a girl.

(CELL PHONE BEEPING)

Ah! There's my friend Jim calling me.

Uh-Oh.

(SIGHS)

I love you.

Spot something rare for me.

You know I will

Hey, Jim.

Yeah, listen, talks broke down.

Deal was dead by 10:00. Over.

Total acrimony. On the way out the door, we agreed to a do-or-die session, May 14th, here in New York in our office.

I can't. Impossible.

I'm flying to Attu on the 14th.

To where?

Attu, Alaska. And I can't miss the flight.

There's not another one for a week.

Stu, you're not involved, the deal dies.

Look, you gave these people their jobs.

If you don't do something, they're gonna lose them!

And that means a hell of a lot more than some birds on Attu.

NARRATOR: Attu. The westernmost island of the Aleutian chain.

So far west, it's closer to Tokyo than to Anchorage.

There are no hotels, no phones, no restaurants or permanent residents.

But for birders, Attu is paradise.

Nobody could hope to win a Big Year without going to Attu in May.

(KNOCKING ON DOOR)

Mom's Taxi Service! I'm sorry I'm late.

You're gonna be a little chilly in Alaska.

I'm not going.

Stop packing. I'm serious! Mom!

Are you upset because you think you can't win, or because he lied to you?

Both. And what about Bostick?

Who?

Kenny Bostick, the best birder in the world.

I think he might be doing another Big Year.

What chance do I have?

Oh, Brad, you have 486 birds. You're on a record pace.

You can't quit now!

Mom, my credit card is maxed out. No. No. No. No.

Even if I go to Alaska, there's no way I can complete the year!

This has 8 $6,000 limit.

Bring me back some Alaska pictures.

No, Mom, I can't. No, no, no, no.

Get dressed. Your plane leaves in an hour.

Don't piss off your travel agent.

I had no idea this car could go this fast.

If you miss this plane, there's not another one for a week.

So, we gotta do it.

Mom, Mom, Mom!

Welcome back, Mr. Preissler! Thank you.

Thanks for being here, Stu.

STU: I can give you four hours, that's it.

Then I've got to catch my flight to Alaska.

BARRY: No problem. JIM: How was your trip?

Louisiana was spectacular.

Lot of birds in the bayou.

And saw a loggerhead shrike from my hotel room in Natchitoches.

Adorable!

It imitates the songs of other birds to lure them in close.

Uh-huh.

Then it impales them on thorns, breaks their necks and eats them.

Yeesh!

STU: We'll assume the cost of retrofitting the plants, but that still leaves the non-compete clause.

Barry says you have an issue with it.

No. It's not a big issue, but I'm not like you, Stu.

I'm not ready to hang it all up so I can spend the rest of my life bird watching.

(MEN LAUGHING)

It's called "birding," Rick.

And there's no wiggle room here.

This is a deal-breaker for us.

Wait, what? Wait, wait, wait.

Four hours ago, you said that everything was negotiable.

What, was this just so you could lure me in to finish me off?

The shrike.

It's 11:15 I should have left for the airport 15 minutes ago.

All right. Stu! Just wait, one second, please. One second.

Let me talk to my people. Just give me five minutes. Okay?

(INDISTINCT)

Okay, Stu, 48 months and you got a deal.

They'll shake.

The Lexington side! Okay, I'm coming out now!

Are you there?

Come up! Pull up in front! There's taxis there. Flash your lights!

Go! Go, go, go, go!

Kenny? This is Karen, my blushing bride.

Attu's gonna be our honeymoon.

WOW!

Okay, now, Karen, you're not a birder, are you?

No. No, I'm just along for the ride.

Honeymoon on Attu.

That should be unforgettable.

Yeah.

(MOUTHING) Attu? What were you thinking?

Come on, let's go! What are we waiting for?

The charter's sold out, but two guys haven't shown up yet.

BRAD: I'm here!

Okay, sorry. Sorry I'm late.

Sorry. Sorry I'm late.

Okay.

(SIGHS)

Nice of you to join us.

You're Stu's little sidekick, aren't you?

Oh, yeah, me and Stu are like that.

I know all his secrets.

Yeah? Cookie?

Yeah, thanks.

All his secrets. (CHUCKLES)

Apparently, he's doing a Big Year. Oops.

He probably wouldn't want you to know that.

What's his total?

By now? Over 500.

Hey! Hey!

Hey! Hey!

Gives him a shot at your record, doesn't it?

Yeah. Yeah, that...

He's a pretty spry old guy.

He's definitely got a shot at my record.

Of course, he probably would have had a better shot if he had made this flight.

(EXCLAIMING IN DISAPPOINTMENT)

Oh, God.

What's your total? Hmm?

What's your total?

I'm not doing a Big Year. No?

Mmm-mmm.

Another cookie?

No, one's my limit.

The pilot says this is a Siberian storm?

Attu Island, meet El Niño. Makes for great birding.

(SCREAMING FRANTICALLY)

(ALARM BEEPING)

Oh, my God!

(SOBBING)

(APPLAUDING) Nice job up there in the cockpit!

Way to go, guys! Attu!

Bostick!

Welcome, birders, to Attu.

Welcome, birders, to Attu.

Let's take this spot. Go right in here. In here.

Okay. Yeah.

MAN 1: I'll take the top.

MAN 2: Yeah.

Welcome to the honeymoon suite!

Unforgettable.

Wally, how are you?

Hey, Bostick. (KENNY EXHALING)

KENNY: That Old Attu air.

(WHISTLING)

How you doing, Dolores?

Mrs. Suzuki.

Yeah.

Oh, yeah. Here they are.

Now I'm in Attu.

Prime real estate.

Okay.

(MOUSE SQUEAKING) (EXCLAIMS)

I've only been here a week, and my life list is already at 578.

You want to see? Are you serious?

Yeah. I'd love to.

That is the American... That's so beautiful.

ELLIE: Yeah, golden plover.

MIKE: You guys have the same eyes.

Rustic bunting.

Excuse me. ON MEGAPHONE: Massacre Valley.

Rustic bunting.

Coming through. Hurry!

Massacre Valley, come on! Let's go, let's go!

Just follow us!

The south side trail.

Kenny! Rustic bunting!

Really? I'll catch up to you.

MARY: Go back!

Go back, you guys! The bunting flew back toward Casco Cove!

The other way! The rustic bunting is up there!

Bunting's gone up the hill! Turn around, turn around!

The bunting flew down the hill! Go back!

MARY: What? Go back!

No, the bunting flew down the hill!

MAN ON RADIO: Gladys, we finally found the bunting. It's at Murder Point.

NARRATOR: The reigning king has adopted a practice evolved by brilliantly opportunistic birds like the skua.

He lets others do the grunt work, then seizes the spoils.

WOMAN: There's an eyebrowed thrush back here.

There it is! Where?

(GROANS)

(CAMERA CLICKING)

(VIVA LA VIDA PLAYING)

Oh, hey, everybody.

Bostick.

(SINGING) I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing Roman cavalry choirs are singing Be my mirror, my sword and shield My missionaries in a foreign field For some reason I can't explain I know Saint Peter won't call my name Never an honest word But that was when I ruled the world TV ANCHOR: Jason, just so our viewers can take precautions here, how severe is this storm going to be?

WEATHERMAN: In one word, it's going to be intense.

We're expecting a tremendous amount of snow.

(SQUEAKING)

It'll be tough out there for man or beast.

TV ANCHOR: But you were telling me a moment ago, there are at least a few people happy about this Siberian storm, right?

I can tell you that the birders over at Attu are going to love it.

So far they've spotted such rarities as a pin-tailed snipe and an Oriental greenfinch.

TV ANCHOR: Snipe and greenfinch.

And these are birds that nobody's seen in North America for how long?

Ten, 20, 30 years?

Thirty years at least. If ever.

TV ANCHOR: And I'm happy if I can spot a pigeon.

(LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

(SIGHS EXHAUSTEDLY)


Hey, Brad!

I made it!

Boy, oh, boy, are you a sore for sight eyes, huh?

I was just headed out.

I wanted to tell you, but Bostick has a way of getting information out of people.

Yeah, I guess he's not the only one.

I didn't get it out of you, Brad. You offered it to me.

Oh, come on! You bought me drinks and got what you wanted!

That's not why I asked you to dinner.

I told you about my wife.

My fear of retirement.

You think I'd discuss that stuff with just anybody?

Nope. Just the people you think are doing a Big Year.

Brad, listen.

You were ready to talk about your Big Year.

I wasn't ready to talk about mine. That's all it was.

Have you checked your messages lately?

UP here?

What, are you kidding me?

I left a full confession five days ago.

I felt bad.

Really?

I'm sorry.

Okay.

I guess I have a confession to make, too.

You told Bostick, didn't you?

Yes. Sorry.

On, well. (SIGHS)

Is it true this was the greatest week in Attu history?

Yeah. But the birds are still here.

Unless there's a freak blizzard, you'll still get to see them.

Sorry about the freak blizzard.

I shouldn't have said there's gonna be a freak blizzard.

That jinxed it.

(ALL LAUGHING)

No, that's the thing. We couldn't figure it out.

What's a bird who only eats mosquitoes doing in Wisconsin in February?

Then we found it. On the porch.

Bug zapper.

With a 12-month supply of freeze-dried mosquitoes in its tray.

(ALL LAUGHING)

That little sucker was in heaven.

How about the most tropical bird you've seen this year?

(SIGHS) Western spindalis, Key West.

Hardest to find.

Rufous-capped warbler.

Perched on a toilet brush in a cabin near El Paso.

(ALL LAUGHING)

I almost wish I didn't see that one.

One that got away.

(SIGHS) That's easy. Snowy owl.

I just can't seem to nail that sucker!

I've been out six times this year and I still haven't gotten one.

Six trips to see one bird.

That sounds an awful lot like a man doing a Big Year.

It takes one to know one, right, Stu?

Cheers. Of course, then again, maybe I just love to bird.

What do you got? Bald eagle.

Big deal! We all got one five months ago.

It's got a lady friend.

NARRATOR: Of all courtship rituals, none is as spectacular as that of the bald eagle.

A male and female climb to dizzying heights and then...

join in free fall, plummeting towards the earth locked in each other's embrace, separating only at the very last moment.

(SIGHS)

God, I miss Edith.

Yeah, I kind of miss Jess.

(SIGHS)

(CLICKS TONGUE)

Oh, hey.

Oh! It's the man with the golden ear.

Yep. I thought you were just lucky last time, but word has it around the barracks that you're something of an idiot savant.

Without the "idiot" part.

No, no, that's... I'm an idiot.

It's true.

Okay, let me see if I can try to stump you.

Okay.

(HOWLING SOFTLY)

Greater roadrunner.

Yep. Not bad. Okay.

(CLEARS THROAT)

(SHRILL SCREECH)

Come on. Easy. Common raven.

Let's take it to the next level.

Okay. All right, you asked for it.

(WHISTLING)

Oh, yeah. Audubon oriole?

Oh, yeah, wow.

That, in my opinion, is the most beautiful girl...

Bird in the world.

(SNICKERS)

Is it true that you have a life list of 578 birds?

Yeah! Yeah.

My mom thinks that my obsession with birds is ruining my life.

(SIGHS) Tell me about it.

My dad even blames the birds for my wife leaving.

But what does he know?

I mean, that's not why.

We had other issues. But...

It was the birds. It was the birds.

Hey. How did it go?

(EXCLAIMS DISMISSIVELY)

It kind of bogged down when I got to talking about my ex-wife.

I know, I know!

STU: That's about the top of the list of the fifty worst pickup lines.

BRAD: Yeah. "Hi. I'm divorced.

"Didn't go so good, but I got a good feeling about this one."

Oh, boy.

Ew! What is that smell?

The good doctors are whipping up a homemade batch of bird bait.

We've been fermenting it out back since we got here.

It's like crack cocaine to the gulls.

What are you doing? This is my scarf!

Oh, sorry.

This scarf is from Bergdorf's!

This scarf cost $250!

I wouldn't go out there if I... Shut up!

Look at my scarf!

This should be fun.

(SQUAWKING)

(SCREAMING) on, no! No!

Get away! Honey? Throw it away!

Go... Get away!

Don't take my scarf! Give it back to me!

(ALL EXCLAIM)

Hitchcockian.

What's he doing up there?

How many do you think he has?

I wouldn't guess.

But you know what?

That's not the point.

We can't take our eyes off the ball.

You think he lets anything slow him down?

I made work my priority and I missed the boat.

You got your feelings hurt and you almost quit!

No more, Brad.

Think like him, act like him.

One of us has to beat this SOB!

Yeah. Yeah!

And here's what you do about Ellie!

I don't think I'm ready.

Tell her you want to exchange phone numbers in case there's a rare sighting this summer.

I said I'm not ready!

But that is a really good idea.

Thanks.

Good luck, Stu.

Whoo!

(COME FLY AWAY PLAYING)

NARRATOR: Summer is a season of peripatetic activity for North American fauna.

Inspired by the CEO, the programmer is among the most peripatetic.

(SINGING) I'm feeling restless, but I'm tired Don't want to leave, but I can't stay You and me need something more It's time to spread our wings and go So come, fly away Through the clouds into the sun Far away from everyone Come, fly away When we get above the rain They are all sunny days

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird Bird, bird, bird...

Hello. Hi.

You know that pink-footed goose that you missed in Texas?

Guess what just showed up here in Boston.

Really?

NARRATOR: The divorced programmer tells himself to trust his instinct.

Has he finally met the right mate?

Ellie!

Hey. Hi.

How's your Big Year going?

(SIGHS) I don't want to jinx it, but it's going very, very good.

I saw a flamingo in the Everglades last week.

WOW!

Got about a thousand mosquito bites, but it was worth it.

Doing a Big Year and working full-time?

I really admire that, Brad.

You know what I admire? That you're not doing a Big Year.

Why? Because it's pure!

It's all about the love of birds for you.

How do you know I'm not doing a Big Year?

(BOTH EXCLAIMING)

You left it there? You're brave.

But Darren's driving.

Nice. Darren? My boyfriend?

Ah! Darren, this is Brad.

Welcome to Boston, bro.

So, Ellie tells me you guys are going to look for a...

What is it, a pink goose?

No, it's not...

Nope. Not a pink goose.

No such thing as a pink goose.

It's a pink-footed goose, so...

If I came to see a pink goose, then I guess this whole trip would have been a big waste of time, wouldn't it?

(LAUGHING) "Pink goose."

Maybe there's a purple swan out there, too.

Let's go!

(SIGHS) You want to hear the punch line?

The pink-footed goose had already skipped town.

STU: We'll get it one day.

Brad, Edith had a boyfriend when I first met her.

You never know.

The final chapter might not be written with Ellie.

Yeah.

Thanks, Stu.

NARRATOR: The retired CEO knows that the days he missed on Attu have cost him dearly.

But upon his return to the mainland, there is news.

Hey' Hey.

Congratulations. Thank you.

Come see. Can't wait.

Wow. He's adorable.

Hey, Grandpa.

What's his name?

No one told you?

All I heard was you hadn't decided yet.

Name's Stuart, Dad. Call him Stu.

Really?

Well, that's something.

You want to hold him?

Yeah.

Hey.

Hold his head. I remember.

(EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY)

Stu! Stu!

How you doing? How you doing? (CAMERA CLICKING)

Hey, you don't want to look at big face?

(STU MOCKING)

Hey, buddy.

Hey. Hey, buddy.

Ain't he cute? So cute.

Spotted something rare for you.

Hey, buddy. You want to go birding?

Huh? Want to do the rumba?

(MIMICKING RUMBA MUSIC)

Taxi!

JFK.

(MOUTHING) Bye.

NARRATOR: In the days that follow, it proves harder than he could have guessed to resume his Big Year.

And in the teeming profusion of life that is summer, he sees his own mortality everywhere.

Even in a blade of grass.

He misses his wife.

He misses his life.

ls his migrating instinct waning at long last?

Blue-footed booby! Orcas Island, right?

Hey. How many?

You might want to sit down.

Edith gave me a pep talk last month.

707.

(EXHALING IN RELIEF)

You?

715.

You're not bad at the pep talks yourself.

Me and my big mouth.

KENNY: How many?

715.

Wow! Welcome to the 700 Club, kid.

That is rarified air.

Of course, it's this old-timer we got to worry about.

What's your number? You don't want to know.

I do. Scare me. How about 730?

Really?

Wow, and here I thought I was the bomb at 728.

Hey, hang in there. You still got a shot.

Yeah. Thank you for that reassuring pat on my shoulder.

All right, have a good day.

I just wanted to wipe that cocky grin off his face.

You did that. He looked like he'd just read his own obituary.

And we got his total.

Okay, yes, okay! Okay!

But I think you just woke a sleeping dog.

MAN: Yeah, yeah, we're getting on the boat.

STU: Excuse me. Excuse me.

Did our friend just say where he was going?

He wanted directions to the Skagit Wildlife Area.

Blue-footed booby's on the move.

This is me.

(WHISTLING)

BRAD: No bird.

And no Bostick.

NARBA says the blue-footed booby's still on the island.

And we just missed the last ferry.

(CHUCKLES)

(SIGHS)

You know the beauty of it?

He never lied to us. He never even spoke to us.

The man's a genius.

728!

He's a machine. He's a birding machine.

Unless he was bluffing, too.

Or cheating.

Maybe he just wants it more.

Oh, screw that!

I've spent 10 months of my life on this, and every penny I have.

There is no way he wants it more than me!

Remember when you said one of us has to beat this SOB?

Maybe we should...

Team up.

(I LIKE BIRDS PLAYING)

Team up!

(SINGING) I can't look at the rocket launch The trophy wives of the astronauts And I won't listen to their words

'Cause I like Birds

I don't care for walking downtown Crazy autocar gonna mow me down Look at all the people like cows in a herd Well, I like Birds

I'm exhausted. I couldn't take another step.

(BIRD CALLING)

Sandhill crane!

Oh, shit!

(GROANS)

STU: You took him up?

Okay. Thanks, Gil.

Bostick saw snowcocks.

(SIGHS) I can't afford snowcocks!

Snowcocks are on me.

I can't even afford this beer.

That's on me, too.

You ever been in a helicopter?

Ah!

So, how long until we see some Himalayan snowcocks?

You never know. It's a matter of luck.

Do we have to fly this close to the mountains?

Close? This isn't close. You want to see close?

No. No, no, no, no, no!

(EXCLAIMING)

Whoa!

(LAUGHING)

All right, there, there, there!

Himalayan just cleared the ridge! You see it?

No! No!

Oh, man! Come on, look!

(STU AND BRAD EXCLAIM)

(BOTH SCREAMING)

Where are you? Come on.

There! There, there!

There, you see it? Right there!

(LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

STU: Ride 'em, cowboy!

Uh-Oh! Ah!

Oh, God!

GIL: We're good. We're good.

Can we go home now?

Don't you want to get it on film?

Hell, no! No! No! Home!

(STU AND BRAD EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY)

Hey!

We're alive!

We saw snowcocks!

Hey!

We're on a roll! Nothing can stop us now!

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird Bird, bird, bird, b-bird. . .

Hey, Mom.

What?

It's all right. It's okay.

So how many of these damn tests are these clowns gonna put me through before they let me get the hell out of here?

Dad, you had a heart attack.

I had a minor heart attack, all right?

In my old man's day, it was not something you went to the hospital for.

(SIGHS)

Let me show you some shots from the trip.

My little hobby. You should take a look.

What do we got here? There we go.

Colima warbler. That's Texas.

Had to hike eight miles to see that guy.

That's a spruce grouse.

Maine. That was butt-cold.

(CHUCKLES)

Another spruce grouse.

There's my favorite bird. American golden plover.

That's your favorite bird. It's gray.

Yes, it is. Well, gray-brown.

Yeah, a lot of people wouldn't think twice to look at this bird, but this golden plover's one of the greatest travelers in the world.

It's true. It breeds in the Arctic tundra, then flies all the way down to Argentina and back, all in one year.

It shows up on beaches of Guatemala.

On farms in Illinois.

Nine inches long, but he travels hundreds of thousands of miles in his lifetime.

No passports, no security. Total freedom.

Yeah. This gray bird has seen some amazing things.

And that's the bird that everybody underestimates.

(HOOTING)

(BIRD HOOTING IN RESPONSE)

Yes!

Hey. Did you see a f lammer?

I heard it. He just answered my call.

Which direction? It doesn't matter.

We both heard it. That counts.

How do I know what I heard?

Maybe I just heard you. Maybe I heard some SOB answering you.

TED: I'm claiming it. I mean, you heard what I heard.

You should claim it, too.

Just tell me which direction, pal.

It's over here.

Hey, hold up. I'll go with you.

Hey, Stu. Yeah, walk with me.

(MIMICS BIRD HOOTING)

That was some trick you pulled on us at Anacortes Ferry.

What trick? (HOOTS)

Bostick, you're a hard guy to figure.

Seems like you'd do anything to win, but that's not true, is it?

I work the angles just like everyone does.

Maybe even better.

Yeah, but when it comes to the honor system, you're as pure as snow.

Everyone in the clubhouse knows which guy cheats on his score.

He's kind of pathetic. Who'd want to be that asshole, right?

Bostick, this is strange to say, but I actually kind of like you.

I kind of like you, too, Stu.

Yeah, you seem like a... You seem like a genuinely nice guy.

Course, wasn't that how you got to Brad?

I didn't get to... Yell if you find a f lammer.

Bostick!

NURSE: I see that you're going to come back at least a couple more times So just fill out those forms and we'll see you again.

Okay, great. Thank you.

Okay. We're all set.

But we do need your husband here very soon.

He'll be here.


Sorry. Am I hurting you?

Oh, not at all.

Your husband does know today's the day?

Oh, yeah.

Yeah.

How you doing? Good. How are you, sir?

(EXHALES) Tired.

(CAR HONKING)

The doctor's ready. Should we maybe call your husband?

Can we give him five more minutes?

Okay.

Bostick!

(CELL PHONE RINGING)

Yeah. Bostick, guess what I'm looking at.

Snowy owl.

Catch the 4:30 to Buffalo and you will obliterate your own record.

Hold on. Kenny, where are you?

Jess, you cannot believe how hard I have tried today to get there.

It's just been a complete nightmare here in Chicago.

Hold on.

They've got like all the planes grounded, or something, I don't know why...

(JESSICA SCREAMING IN FRUSTRATION)

(SIGHS)

Here you go, Mrs. B.

Sounds like you could use a cup of tea.

Thanks, Frankie. Yeah.

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird...

BRAD: Dad, can you grab that for me?

A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word A-well-a, bird, bird, bird Well, the bird is the word A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word A-well-a, bird, bird, bird Well, the bird is the word A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word A-well-a, bird, bird...

Yeah, yeah, hello.

Oh, hi. I'm trying to reach Brad?

Brad's upstairs.

He's setting up an oxygen tank for some old man.

Oh, can you tell him his friend Stu called?

I got word of a great gray owl in the George Washington National Forest, and since that's in your neck of the woods...

Yeah, Brad's told me a lot about you, Stu.

Same here.

Quite a son you have there.

Between you and me, he might break the world's record this year.

World record? Is that right?

Here, get your coat on.

Where are we going?

Some kind of an owl out in the woods. I want to get a look at him.

(MOUTHING) An owl?

RAYMOND: I always thought it was kind of weird with birds.

The male is way colorful and fancy, and the female is just plain.

The opposite from us, you know?

I don't know, Dad.

You should check out the family photo album sometime.

Those jackets you were sporting back in the '70s were...

My sport jacket?

...Pretty colorful.

Paisley polyester, huh? (LAUGHING) Yeah.

How do you think I got your mother, eh? Huh?

Uh... I don't think so.

Jess?

JESSICA: Frankie? Is that you?

No.

It's not what you think.

What do I think?

You know what? The Faluccis are taking me to a Jets game.

They wanted to get an early start.

And when I heard you come in, I figured I'd overslept, 'cause it's not like you've been here any morning in the last 10 months.

So you haven't slept with him.

No. I'd never do that to you.

You know, fallen in love or something?

No.

'Cause, believe it or not, I'm still in love with you.

But I can't be married to you any more.

Jess... I'm gonna call Frank and tell him that the game's a no go.

(BRAD MIMICS BIRD HOOTING)

(RAYMOND BREATHING HEAVILY)

You okay?

I'm fine. Go ahead. Go ahead.

Brad!

All right, I want you to get that bird before it gets dark.

We will. No. No, no.

You go on without me.

But... I'll be fine, okay?

Fine. Give me the tank.

Come on, come on. Give me the tank.

All right.

Go get that bird. Go ahead. Go!

All right.

Go on!

Look, you have every reason to be really upset about the baby thing.

Yeah. Yeah. That was terrible.

I know. I think in the heat of the moment, I just plain choked, but you got to give someone a second chance.

No. How can you say you love me and not be willing to try... Because, Kenny, it's a good thing that I wasn't married to Gandhi or Mozart.

'Cause I just need to be with a guy who'd rather be with me than with anything else. Jess, you are. Really.

Sure. As long as there's no egret or owl or pelican or...

No, come on! Give me a break, Jess!

Hold it! That's this year, then it's over! It's every year, Kenny.

No! I know you.

I know that right now you're in pain, trying to think how you're gonna get on your flight to Phoenix without looking like a jerk. No. No. No, I'm really in pain because I really love you, and I'm scrambling to make this work.

Enough not to go to Arizona?

I have to go to Arizona.

Why? Why?

Because right now there's a guy out there named Stu with 730-plus birds, and if I don't get out there, people could say he's the greatest birder of all time.

And he's not.

This is what I'm great at! This is what I'll be remembered for!

No one remembers who comes in second.

I know. I know.

(MIMICS BIRD HOOTING)

What are you doing?

You idiot, how could you just leave him there?

God dang it!

(PANTING)

NARRATOR: Of all Earth's creatures, few fear death as much as man.

Dad?

His own, but also those of his loved ones.

Dad!

Dad, are you okay?

(SHUSHING)

(BOTH LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird Bird, bird, bird, b-bird. . .

Hello? Hey, Brad!

(SPEAKING FRENCH)

It's me. There's a Pacific storm coming in.

A big one! This could turn it around for us, buddy.

(BOTH LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

Huh? What?

Is today...

I don't believe it!

BRAD: How could you not know?

Didn't your wife mention it was Thanksgiving?

She doesn't like to rub it in when the holidays roll around and she knows I'm in a motel somewhere, sitting around in my boxers.

Same thing happened last Fourth of July.

Okay, Fourth of July is one thing, but Thanksgiving!

Make the next left.

Hey, Mr. Computer Genius Guy, don't you have a calendar on that thing?

Didn't your folks tell you?

All my dad talks about is that damn owl.

Remind me to come over to your house on Christmas.

We're trying to catch Bostick, and you're our only...

Were you gonna say "hope"?

That pig's doing another Big Year?

BRAD: It was epic! Four Siberian species, two from China and one from Japan!

All right, so what's your total?

734, Dad. Whoo!

A new record. I'm gonna kick his ass.

BRAD: "Bostick didn't have his usual cocky air.

"He was intense, tired, all-business.

"Frankly, he looked like a guy who was trying to catch up. "

So what do you think?

He's heard it through the grapevine that Annie took us out on Thanksgiving.

Annie made sure of that. So, yeah, maybe he's scared.

On the other hand, maybe he's shooting for some ridiculous number and won't slow down till he gets there.

What's a ridiculous number?

740? 745?

I mean, the guy is crazy!

Silent night Holy night All is calm Here. Try fork.

Okay, thank you. Thanks.

Hey. You want to... You guys want to come sit with me?

I feel bad you're working on Christmas. Come on.

WAITER: Why you here? Why not with family?

(0 COME ALL YE FAITHFUL PLAYING)

Snowy owl, Chan.

Been up and down the Sax Zim Bog looking for him.

It's the only breeding bird in North America that's eluded me.

(SPEAKING CANTONESE)

I'd like to see the birds of China one day.

You know anything about that?

Peking duck.

(KENNY LAUGHS)

Merry Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas.

(CELL PHONE RINGING)

Hey, Barry. Happy holidays.

You and Jenny in Saint Barths again this year?

Not exactly. We all had to cancel our vacations.

Looks like we've been out-shriked.

What? BARRY: We're being bought by 3M.

JIM: Yeah, here's the thing, Stu.

You may want to sit down for this.

Looks like Simon Ross is stepping down as CEO and they want you to take over.

BARRY: Stu, you started this company in your garage.

You made it something big.

Now you have the chance to run one of the biggest companies in the world.

JIM: It's what they call a lot of money.

But more than that, obviously, your Big Year, it's coming to a close.

Do you really want to face the abyss?

The answer is yes, Jim.

JIM: Yes, you'll do it?

Yes, I want to face the abyss.

No! Stu. Stu. No, no, no, no! Don't say that!

Don't say something you don't mean.

But I do mean it.

I really do.

I think we need to come there and show you this offer face-to-face.

Absolutely!

Can't do it, guys. Got to help a friend find a bird.

Those freaking birds!

BRAD: Hey, when are you gonna tell me what we're chasing?

We're going on a wild goose chase!

A goose with little pink feet.

You're crazy! Have you noticed the snow?

That goose is in Scotland by now.

You would think so, wouldn't you?

But my friend Jeff Shaw swears he saw it up here yesterday.

Just out of curiosity, what's Jeff Shaw smoking?

'Cause I'd like to get me some of that!

(BIRD SQUAWKS)

Wait! Wait! Did you hear that?

Pink-footed goose. I heard it!

Come on!

There. There.

BRAD: Huh? Oh!

Looks like somebody's found a warm place to spend the winter.

BRAD: Wow.

What does that give you?

741!

That, my friend, is a very Big Year.

(LAUGHING)

Hey.

CROWD: ...five, four, three, two, one!

(OWL HOOTING)

(CAMERA CLICKING)

Happy New Year!

MAN 1: Hey, look who's here, man! WOMAN: Oh, my God, Ray!

MAN 2: Hey, guys!

CROWD: (SINGING) And never brought to mind We'll take a cup of kindness yet For auld lang syne

(SNORING)

(SIGHS HEAVILY)

RINGTONE: A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird Bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word...

Hello?

(MIMICS BIRD SCREECHING)

(CHUCKLES)

Whimbrel. Yep.

I just... I just wanted to say happy New Year.

Happy New Year to you. What are you doing?

Oh, watching TV by myself.

Darren and I broke up.

I am so sorry to hear that.

Did you just do a victory dance?

No. (CHUCKLES) Maybe. Yes, I did. I did.

Well, not a victory dance so much as a dance of celebration.


STU ON PHONE: Have you seen the results?

They're in?

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

Okay. Did l win?

Bostick got 755 birds, Brad.

(MOUTHING) No!

755?

Son of a bitch! I... That's...

(SIGHS HEAVILY)

That's shocking.

I know, it's not quite human.

But you are second! How amazing is that?

A full-time job and you're second?

And? You're third?

Fourth. What can I say?

I waited too long to do it.

No, you didn't. Don't say that.

Then you would have done it some other year.

And really, we won.

What do you mean?

We won, Stu! I don't know how else to put it.

I don't just mean I wouldn't have come in second without you.

Although that's true I mean, I don't know, he got more birds, but we got more everything.

Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, I do.

Thank you, Stu. Have I said thank you?

Hey, for what?

Congrats. Take care, buddy.

Yep.

Looks like you'll be spending the weekend with the second best birder in the world.

(SQUEALING EXCITEDLY)

Bostick!

(SNICKERING)

NARRATOR: Eight weeks later, the ruby-throated hummingbird begins her migration all over again.

She hopes it will be uneventful.

High in the Rockies, the retired CEO goes birding with the future CEO, who happily does not yet know how to count.

That's a male goldfinch.

In a couple of months, it's gonna turn all yellow.

To celebrate his victory, the reigning king goes to China.

(INAUDIBLE)

Only he knows the price that he has paid to be the greatest birder in the world.

The North American programmer travels to the coast of Maine.

Though still an avid birder, he at last has an even greater passion.

(THIS COULD ALL BE YOURS PLAYING)

There's a message in the skies and in the streets Opportunity, the American-y dream It's in the radio It's superstars The arteries and veins that feed your heart From the Dairy Queen to the head of the parade In a blink your life could change This could all be yours someday

This could all be yours Be yours someday Someday

Someday

Someday

You come as Elvis Presley every Halloween And dream of sing-alongs the whole wide world will sing Into the great unknown, Horatio Desire and ambition fuel this heart So take a breath and step into the light Everything will be all right This could all be yours someday

This could all be yours All yours someday

Someday

Someday

Someday


This could all be yours someday

This could all be yours All yours someday Someday