Check out our review of the new documentary, “For the Birds”, an intimate documentary following Kathy Murphy and her 200 birds!
“For the Birds”, an intimate documentary following Kathy Murphy and her many birds. Directed by Richard Miron, the film explores the unique and interesting story of over 100 ducks, geese, and chickens, that have been born and raised by Kathy Murphy in upstate New York.
Kathy started out raising a few ducks with her husband Gary Murphy in their small home. Very quickly, Kathy fell in love with these ducks and the role she played in raising them, they were family to her. After many years, what turned into a few pet ducks turned into hundreds of ducks, geese, and chickens. All of these birds were kept in a shed outside of her home with a small fenced area outside. The sheer number of ducks she kept caught the attention of a local animal sanctuary, the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, who went over to see these ducks and perhaps take some to the sanctuary. Upon seeing the ducks and the conditions they were living in, they knew they had to take all of these ducks. While Kathy was a kind and well-intentioned person who truly loved these birds, it was clear she did not have the ability to take care of this many birds adequately. Living in filthy, congested spaces, these birds were sickly and in need of a cleaner space, cleaner water, and an overall suitable habitat to live in. The film follows these efforts by the sanctuary to rescue these birds from a woman too reluctant and deluded to give her birds up.
The film is incredibly intimate and deeply tragic. Kathy’s life completely revolves around her birds, which has led her to neglect almost everything else in her life. Her husband, who was initially supportive of her efforts to raise the ducks, has now gotten tired of it. Ducks and chickens roam their now filthy mobile home, their only daughter has lost contact with them because of the birds, and the relationship that Gary and Kathy once had, is now long gone. The impact this obsessed and hoarder lifestyle Kathy lived paints such a tragic picture.
Kathy isn’t a bad person. You can tell immediately that she is a kind woman who cares for animals and considers them her family. Her happiness purely stems from being with her birds and nothing else. But as with any hoarder, she is too delusional to see that the way she is keeping these birds is doing more harm to them than good. As a viewer, you grow to like Kathy and want her to be happy, but you also want the best for the ducks, and you know that the best thing for her to do is to let them go.
You’d never think a bird hoarder would make for an interesting story, but Richard Miron proves that there can be one. “As the story took countless twists and turns over the next five years, the film grew into something I never could have anticipated. The more I filmed, the more inspired I was to dig deeper into the human story behind the bird story. I couldn’t believe how much these ducks, chickens, geese, and turkeys were affecting the people in their orbit — and I had been pulled in, too. I knew I had to find a way to bring it to the screen” said Richard. These ducks affected more people’s lives than their little duck brains can possibly fathom.
Check out “For the Birds” when it hits theaters on May 31st at the IFC Center in New York City and June 14th at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles.