A Birder's Guide to Everything

A Birder's Guide to Everything

Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • Rob Meyer


  • Kodi Smit-McPhee
  • Ben Kingsley
  • James Le Gros
  • Daniela Lavender


  • TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund Grant, 2011
  • Sundance Institute Sloan Science-in-Film Initiative Fellowship, 2010

Teenaged birding fanatic David Portnoy takes an epic road trip with his best friends to solidify their place in birding history.

Teenaged birding fanatic David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) thinks he's made the discovery of a lifetime. On the eve of his widower father's second wedding, David spots what may just be the extinct Labrador duck. After consulting with a famous local ornithologist, Lawrence Konrad (Ben Kingsley), he and the two other stalwart members of the local Young Birders Society (Michael Chen, Alex Wolff), joined by their headstrong photographer classmate Ellen (Katie Chang), take off on a rollicking, interstate road trip in search of a rare bird and elusive answers to teenage questions large and small.

Possible Topics

  • Citizen science: How scientists and conservationists use amateur birdwatchers’ sightings
  • Birds in peril and biodiversity
  • How ducks and other birds communicate
  • The evolution of birds

Past Programs


The Mysteries of Extinct Birds

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA


Birding and Citizen Science

Civic Theatre of Allentown, Allentown, PA


Recording the Sounds of Nature

Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society, Juneau Public Libraries, and Gold Town Theater, Juneau, AK


Caring for Endangered Birds

Wilmette Theatre, Wilmette, IL

Bird Behavior

Images Cinema, Williamstown, MA