Bird Movies, Films and Documentaries Every Birder Must Watch!
Whether you are an active birder, backyard bird watcher or just love learning about birds, you have come to the right place!
There are bird films and bird movies on this list for everyone!
Table of Contents: The BEST Bird Movies and Films
Don’t forget the popcorn!
Feature Length Movies About Birds:
Unfortunately, there are not too many bird movies that have appeared in theaters.
Anyone friends with Spielberg? We need him to become a birder!
Here are the bird films that I have seen and enjoyed:
This is an independent film that not many people have seen or even heard about, but I highly recommend it to anyone (regardless if your interested in birds!).
It follows the story of teenage boys who go on a life changing road trip in search of the Labrador Duck. It’s a great coming-of-age movie.
Interesting Fact: Kenn Kaufmann (AKA Birding Legend) was a consultant on the film and even makes an appearance during the movie.
This is a great family movie to watch together.
After her mom passes away, a young girl has to go live with her dad and it’s not going well! That’s until they are forced to adopt an orphaned flock of Canada Geese.
Without their mother, the geese have no one to teach them out to migrate south for the winter. Enter the girl and her dad who train them to follow their small ultra light airplane!
There is actually a lot of science behind this concept and it was the basis for how most of “Winged Migration” (see Bird Documentary below) was filmed.
With a cast of stars such as Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, The Big Year is one of the most recognizable movies about birds and birding in the world.
Even though it didn’t get the best ratings from movie critics and is not the funniest comedy ever made, I think film is pretty entertaining and a great movie to watch with your family.
It also does a great job of explaining what a “Big Year” is all about, which is the annual North American competition among birders to see who can see the most different species of birds.
This bird movie is not perfect, but it does show a glimpse into the birding community that no other movie has ever focused on!
Kids Movies About Birds:
It’s never too early to start sparking an interest in your child about birds and nature.
One of the best ways to grab their attention is to start playing these bird movies and cartoons in your home.
Be careful. As any parent knows, once your kid likes a movie it has the possibility of being played dozens of times. Before you know it, you can almost recite the whole movie from memory!
A fun kids movie that includes lots of beautiful birds.
Rio follows the story and adventure of Blu, whom is the last male Spix’s macaw and unable to fly.
The original was released in 2011 and was a box office hit. The sequel, Rio 2 was released in 2014 and was also very popular.
This movie includes my favorite bird –> Penguins!
Happy Feet was released in 2006 and I still remember going to the theater to watch it with lots of friends while in college.
It’s a fun kids movie. As with many films, Robin Williams steals the show as a singing Adelie Penguin.
Owls, owls and then more owls!!
“Legend of the Guardians” is an entertaining movie and has a darker tone to it than most kid’s films. The graphics of owls flying all over and fight each other is a lot of fun. I enjoyed it even as an adult!
This is probably my favorite section of bird films. I love a great bird documentary or feel good story.
These documentaries about birds should do at least one of the following; educate, inspire or entertain.
Now almost 20 years old, this 10 part documentary is written and presented by legend Sir David Attenborough. It took 3 years to make while visiting 42 different countries!
The entire series is a look into the evolution and habits of birds, with each episode focusing on different species and their adaptations needed to survive.
It is incredibly interesting, entertaining and puts most other bird documentaries to shame when it comes to learning facts and seeing birds in their natural environments.
This bird film will keep you busy for awhile with almost 9 hours of content!
A documentary that shows the bond that can develop between people and birds.
This bird film chronicles the relationship between an unemployed musician and a flock of wild parrots (Cherry-headed Conjures and Blue-crowned Conjures).
For some reason, I didn’t have high expectations for this documentary but I was pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended for birders and non-birders!
Birders: The Central Park Effect was filmed in Central Park (New York) and focuses on the people who watch birds throughout the park.
This bird documentary does a good job of showing what attracts people to birding in the first place and the weird obsession that can take place. It seems most of us birders are a bit weird, nerdy, obsessive, fun, caring and smart.
Surprisingly, it’s the people that make this bird film fun to watch, not the birds.
This bird documentary will always hold a special place in my heart. It is the movie that helped spark my interest and admiration of penguins.
It’s a fascinating look at the lives of Emperor Penguins and the hardships they have to go through just to survive and reproduce.
I watch it every year on World Penguin Day (April 25th) and have bourbon to celebrate.
Produced by Disneynature, this bird documentary features the massive gatherings of Lesser Flamingos in Tanzania.
“Crimson Wing” is a real look at the life and struggle of these flamingos. Don’t be fooled that this film is associated with Disney; there are some really sad parts! For example, prepare yourself to see some cute baby flamingos struggle…
And how come hyenas always get a bad rap in Disney movies?
This bird movie is visually stunning and beautiful. I think you will appreciate these pink birds a whole lot more after watching “The Crimson Wing.”
When it comes to the best bird films or documentaries, “Winged Migration” is probably one of the most well known.
Originally released in 2003, it was shot over 4 years on 7 continents. They shot over 590 miles of film to create this 89 minute-feature.
“Winged Migration” is visually stunning. The birds are interesting and shot from angles and perspectives that are incredible.
The most impressive shots will always be the birds flying right next to the camera. “How did they do that?” was my first thought and immediately did research.
It turns out that humans raised those birds from chicks. They imprinted on the film crew and then were trained to fly alongside small airplanes (ultralights, paragliders).
This movie is purely about the beauty and awe of birds and birds in flight. There is not much talking and don’t plan on learning anything. Just enjoy!
Since 1982, the producers of Nature have been putting out quality wildlife documentaries about all sorts of animals, including birds.
Nature currently airs every Wednesday on PBS in the United States, but appears in syndication in Canada and the Discovery Channel.
With hundreds of episodes over the years, Nature has educated the public about the diversity of life from all across the globe. Many of the hour long films are wonderful.
Here is a list of some of my favorite documentaries and bird films from Nature:
I hope you were able to find something new to watch.
There are not a lot of bird films or bird movies available.
It was pretty hard coming up with this list.