Blunders and a possible blunder

It’s not good to use the word hate, but I hate when good movies make reality blunders by editing in audio and visual bites of wildlife that shouldn’t be in the region depicted for a particular outdoor scene or scenes.

Take, for example, Oliver Stone’s Platoon, which won a “Best Picture” Oscar. I liked the movie immensely, but I hated one scene in the movie a third of the way through where our grunts discovered one of their own was missing. Just as the camera panned down a lonely stream in the jungle, a common loon called out. Common loons call out mostly in their breeding range, which is the northern and sub-Arctic lakes areas of North America. All loons are indigenous to North America only, not Vietnam.

In the movie Saving Private Ryan, in a highly emotional scene where Mother Ryan learns of the deaths of three of her sons, robins and Swainson’s thrushes sing in the farmer’s yard.

The problem here is the beautiful Ryan farm was located in wide-open Iowa farm country, and it was June, which is the breeding season for the Swainson’s thrush, which breed hundreds of miles north in heavily wooded habitats. It was a great scene unless you know your birds. I like farms and open country, but you might as well have had cotton in the fields because the Swainson’s thrushes singing made the scene inappropriate.

Twenty minutes later, the soldiers were alertly walking through French farmland, but hark! A lone Western chorus frog sings out.

I believe it was actually there; it had a randomness to it that made me think it wasn’t an edited bite. But the Western chorus frog tells us they weren’t filming in France that day. Western chorus frogs exist only in North America.

There is another example that is so blatant I’m not giving the movie’s name. It’s that rather recent movie with Sean Connery, who plays the supposed greatest of living authors who happens to live in New York City. He befriends a high school student who is a gifted writer, and the blunder occurs when they are in Sean’s apartment.

Connery is videotaping something in a tree with a small video camera. Before you see what he’s videotaping, Connery describes it to the student as an attractive young male. Then they cut to the student, and he has a look on his face as if to say, “Hmmm, is the great author some sort of pervert?” Then they show what Connery is videotaping as it feeds back on the small display screen.

Yes, it’s an attractive young male all right; it’s a male yellow warbler in bright breeding plumage. Fine, a great colorful, funny scene until Connery in his classic verbal signaturesque style announces that the jewel in the camera’s eye is a Connecticut warbler. Those two warblers look nothing alike. From then on, Connery, at least in my mind, is playing a dolt.

I hope my open-minded friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church restore some natural habitat somewhere on that 40-acre chunk of land they bought at Spring Creek and Bell School roads. Maybe, there will be land left over when the buildings and parking lots are done, so you can restore some habitat.

There are enough Sierra Club members at the church to steer the powers that be in the right direction. I am surprised you guys have joined the sprawlers, and you’ll be sitting in a portion of the I-90 Wolf Corridor. Westminster Presbyterian Church, be an example and restore 20 of your 40 acres to native plant habitat. God digs biodiversity.

Rod Myers is a local resident with an interest in the environment and disability issues. He has an associate’s degree in science and a bachelor’s in fine arts. Rod is a member of the Audubon Society, the Wild Ones Natural Landscapers and Rockford Amateur Astronomers, Inc.

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