Are you gaga for gannets … and other birds? If so, well, you’re not alone, as Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black are about to reveal in their new movie, The Big Year, a comedy about bird watchers that debuts in US theatres this week.

In the film, the characters portrayed by Martin, Wilson and Black are seeking a major life change and decide to spend a year searching for some of the rarest birds in North America.

We don't know if they will be searching for any sea birds in the film, but northern gannets should rank high on a birder's list. Just take a look at these lovely photos of northern gannets that were taken aboard a Silver Explorer expedition cruise to Bonaventure Island, Québec, Canada, last month.

Are these not incredibly beautiful birds?

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly 50 million Americans are bird enthusiasts. In the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has over one million members. Clubs and groups dedicated to bird watching number in the thousands around the world.

The US-based National Audubon Society, hoping The Big Year will inspire even greater interest in birding, has launched a social media campaign to coincide with the movie's release. Clicking on the animated birds on the many participating websites takes players to an Audubon Facebook page to collect and trade “bird cards” which feature recordings of birdsongs, bird facts, and video. All that is required to play is to visit Audubon on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalAudubonSociety.

Or you could simply dust off your binoculars, step outside, and look up. You may soon be going a bit gaga yourself!

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