Sunday, February 19, 2012

Birds at Large: Star Wars

I was watching Return of the Jedi the other day and heard something sort of familiar in the background of the early scenes on Endor.  It was a soft "poot poot" call reminiscent of something in the Nightjar family.  The rhythm of the call was, being unfamiliar with the calls of non-North American nightjars, most reminiscent of a Chuck-will's-widow.  I googled around and quickly found this, posted by Greg Eddy of the Brooks Bird Club in West Virginia:

Then at our 1982 Foray in Hampshire County a Chuck-wills-widow was found by Bill Wylie.  As many as three birds were heard one night.  The first bird was heard by the entire camp and seen by most of us.  That bird was recorded by Dr. Ben Burtt.  He gave the tapes to his son Ben Burtt Jr.  Ben Jr. was the sound director for the Star Wars movies.  He used the tape in the forest scene in one of the films.  The bird song in the background is that Chuck-Wills-Widow played backwards and slowed down.
Great story! I'm sure we could find out more about the species if we could only find a copy of The Ewok's Field Guide to the Birds of Endor.  All I could find was this group picture from one of their bird walks:


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