Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.



Friday, February 8, 2008

Media (Malkolm)


After 7 months, 1 week and 4 days of nonstop birding you would think that I could tell a Bald Eagle and a Turkey Vulture apart. Until Tampa Bay’s 10 news channel threw a curve ball.

A pair of news makers tracked us down as cycled south. We pulled down a quiet lane while the reporters grabbed their equipment. I clipped a tiny microphone to my collar, slipped a chord under my shirt and clipped something else to my cycling shorts. The cameraman positioned his TV camera at an odd angle below my left pedal. He pointed an enormous lens up at me. “Now, what inspired you to take this on?” asked the interviewer.

“Well, uh, I guess reading books like Kingbird Highway and The Big Year about others who...” I said. The videographer held up his hand and moved the camera to a different angle. “... did Big Years earlier...” They peppered us with questions and filmed us from all angles.

“Now let’s get you guys looking at some birds!” Only a few butterbutts (Yellow-rumped Warblers) fluttered around in distant bushes. “Okay, say what they are and look at them with your binoculars.” I raised them. The cameraman crouched down and rotated the camera around me. “Okay, great! Now let’s get some shots of you cycling. Malkolm, keep that microphone. When I signal, give a ten second overview of what you’re journey is about.”

The cameraman braced his camera out of their car’s window as they cruised parallel to us. After several tries he got what he needed, and they stopped ahead of us. I coasted to a stop and fumbled to remove the microphone. I glanced at the vultures wheeling overhead. One of the birds was flying differently, with its wings held flat, as opposed to the upward tilted wings on the A Turkey Vutures. I focused on the bird. Its head and tail comfirmed my suspicions. “There’s a Bald Eagle.”

“Keep the microphone on! Say that again!”

“There’s a Bald Eagle!” He aimed his camera up.

As we cycled off I wondered how they would edit one hour of material into a one minute and forty-five second news clip. The next evening, we stayed with Barb and Steve Walker near Tampa Bay. They had recorded the news clip. It ran just as expected – until the final ten seconds. I saw a clip of me pointing skywards and saying, “There’s a Bald Eagle!”

Then I saw footage of a soaring Turkey Vulture.

4 comments:

James said...

Dear Media Malkolm,
This is your favourite uncle. Over-exposure to the mass media is blunting your edge as a birding prodigy. Are you sure that turkey vulture wasn't a spotted owl?
Curious Jim

Parus said...

hahaha, I love your story Malkolm! with "the footage at the end showing a TV"... lol that's hilarious. Every American should be able to ID a Bald Eagle. It's our national bird!
lol, I saw a youtube video about "Red-tailed Hawks"
In reality, only one of the birds shown was indeed a RTHA. The rest were TVs.
Anyway, keep up the biking and birding! I'll await your next post!

Bird Year said...

Thanks for your comments! Jim- look at the video and ID the bird (if a SPOW was to make it to Florida it would have to be a great soarer like a Turkey Vulture). Scandels are a great way to get media- if we had told them about the mistake right away we'd probably have gotten even more press. But we didn't find out about it until 24 hrs after it was first played.
Keep commenting!
Malkolm

Bird Year said...

Thanks for your comments! Jim- look at the video and ID the bird (if a SPOW was to make it to Florida it would have to be a great soarer like a Turkey Vulture). Scandels are a great way to get media- if we had told them about the mistake right away we'd probably have gotten even more press. But we didn't find out about it until 24 hrs after it was first played.
Keep commenting!
Malkolm