The Birdwatcher is the story of Saffron, a single mother and no nonsense social worker. After being diagnosed with cancer, she comes to realize that if she dies, her children will be left to grow up without her in an unreliable foster care system. At 14, Lucy is all attitude and in a permanent battle of wills with her mother. Son Jonah however, embodies the joy and exuberance of an 8 year old, completely unaware of his mother’s illness. With few options, Saffron must face the knowledge that her birth mother, with whom she’s had no contact, may be her only hope.
Jane ‘Birdy’ Eastman is a celebrated ornithologist and writer, currently on a research sabbatical with her husband, Finch. Living in an RV park within the rainforest beyond Vancouver, she awaits pivotal news about if and when her next book will be published. Wanting only to spend her days among the trees, Birdy is unaware that she will soon meet the daughter she gave up so long ago.
After discovering the identity of her birth mother Saffron is determined to get to know her. She arrives at the RV Park, kids in tow, and sets up a tent in a nearby campsite. Birdy is unnerved by the new arrivals, but Finch quickly warms to the small family. After several uncomfortable encounters, Saffron chooses a boisterous gathering of bird watchers, including Birdy’s editor, Matt, to reveal herself. Birdy is stunned by the news and withdraws.
Birdy’s rejection empowers Saffron to take control of her life and death. No longer hoping for a miracle, Saffron returns home, puts her affairs in order and uses her precious remaining time to reconnect with her son and teenage daughter.