Saturday, August 25, 2007

Loon problem

Blogging live from the scene of ferocious storms that included 70 mph wind gusts on Chicago's North Side on Thursday. Uptown weathered the storms OK though there are many downed trees in the park. The suburbs fared worse, and flooding persists in many areas.

While recuperating, I've had time to develop two new projects. I'll detail the first in this post. Movies often use bird songs to add a sonic backdrop to natural scenes. Most of these songs are canned, and most get the birds way wrong. Two recently viewed movies illustrate this problem. First, "Bourne Identity" includes a scene where Jason Bourne hides out at a farm in winter in central France. The call of an eastern wood-pewee accompanies the pastoral scene. Impossible. A) Eastern wood-pewees breed in eastern North America and winter in northern South America; B) In the case it was a European pewee flycatcher species can subsist in a wintry climate.

In "Dirty Dancing" Baby confronts her angry father who is seated on a porch overlooking a lake in the Catskills during summer. A common loon emits a single, haunting wail. Again, impossible. A) Common loons do breed in Upstate New York, but only much farther north; B) "Dirty Dancing" was filmed in Virginia and North Carolina which only adds to the fact that this was a taped loon call.

Finally, an ode to a movie that gets it right. "On Golden Pond" includes actual common loons--footage and calls--throughout the movie, which takes place in New Hampshire in summer.

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