George slips while 'birdwatching' in a tree in 1955.

" All the metaphysics did not impress Linda. "I still don't understand what Dad was doing in the middle of the street," she said. / Dad, oblivious to the whole conversation [about how he and Lorraine had first met] did not look up from his work, so Mom raised her voice to get his attention. "What was it, George?" she asked. "What were you doing there — bird-watching?" / George shook his head like a person coming out of a coma. "Huh?" he muttered thickly. "Did you say something, Lorraine?" / "Never mind." "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 39)
" Looking upward through the limbs of the tree, Marty caught sight of George. He was nearly twenty feet up, perched precariously on a thick branch that jutted far over the street. / "I can't believe it," Marty breathed. "That's the most courageous thing I've seen him do." / He soon found out why George had taken such a risk. In his hands was a pair of binoculars, which the young man had trained on a second-story window of the house across the street. The profile of a woman's head and shoulders could be seen at street level. From the vantage point of twenty feet up, Marty could imagine what was visible. / "I'll be damned," he muttered, smiling. "Dad's a Peeping Tom." "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 96 and 97)

Birdwatching was a popular pastime which involved wild birds being observed or identified in their natural environment, usually with the aid of binoculars.


When Lorraine Baines and George McFly first met on November 5, 1955, she believed that he had been engaging in a spot of birdwatching in a tree outside the Baines residence on Sycamore Street when he slipped, fell into the street and was knocked down by her father Sam in his car.

However, although George did have a eye for the birds, those he was interested in were not of the feathered kind: he had actually been using his binoculars to watch Lorraine getting undressed.

Their future son Marty McFly, who had traveled to 1955 in Dr. Emmett Brown's DeLorean time machine, caught George 'birdwatching' and, when he fell from the tree, pushed him out of the way of Sam's car and was struck himself — therefore interfering with George and Lorraine's first meeting and changing the course of history.

Behind the scenes[]

  • In the novelization (see first Quote above), 'bird-watching' has a hyphen, as here. However, the one-word version adopted here — and also used on Wikipedia — is also acceptable for this particular activity, as well as two words ('bird watching').


See also[]