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Tell Us Your Favorite Family Films
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The magic of cinema allows you to fly as a goose's wing man with Anna Paquin as your co-pilot. Fly Away Home tells the story of Amy, a motherless girl, who teaches a nest of motherless geese how to fly. While spectacular scenery and adorable goslings keep the kids captivated, it's Amy's triumph over her mother's death that makes this film uplifting. The story begins when Amy moves to Canada to be raised by her eccentric father, an airplane designer. When she fights to save the orphaned flock, Amy bonds with her father, who teaches her to pilot a plane so that she can train the goslings to fly. Together, they lead the geese on a 500 mile migration, crossing over Canada and into the United States, where the press heralds her accomplishment. To watch Amy pilot the plane solo, with the wild geese honking behind her in formation, is exhilarating.
Fly Away Home packs an environmental message about the sad effects of urban growth on wildlife and their habitats, so we decided to find out how local birds were faring in our own metropolis. Part of the appeal of birding is that it's decidedly low-tech; all you need is a pair of binoculars, a local birding guide and the smarts to know where to find some birds. After a little on-line research, we discovered that migrating birds stop for the night at a wetland in our own neighborhood. When we entered the habitat, time slowed down and our fast-paced tweens spent fifteen minutes watching an elegant Black-crowned Night Heron working the marsh grass for food and a Snowy Egret standing at solitary attention across the pond, her clean white lines distinct against the green marsh. The boys were less focused on the wildlife, but identified a real Birder, who allowed them a long glimpse through his telephoto lens at cormorants hanging their wings out to dry. As we left, a flock of white pelicans circled the wetland, landing in such a graceful order that they seemed rehearsed. A collective sigh went up from the crowd around the pond, and our own junior birders joining in the chorus.
Take a Wetland Walk and Look for Birds
Time Allotment: 2-3 hours
Age Recommendation: Stroller Babes to grandparents
Want to know some easy tips for bird identification? A field guide and binoculars help.
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