Based on the true story of William Lishman's and Joseph Duff's experiments on migrating birds. Lishman and Duff provided actual "imprinted" birds for the making of the film, as well as the actual aircraft used.
Nine years after they played father and daughter in Fly Away Home (1996), Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin filmed a sex scene together for The Squid and the Whale (2005). Daniels said in interview at the time that the way they coped with filming the sex scene was by trying "not to think about...you know, geese."
Release of the film was delayed after a seven year-old girl, Jessica Dubroff, was killed at the controls of a small plane that crashed amidst a much-publicized transcontinental flight attempt, along with her father and flight instructor.
Amy's fake nose ring was Anna Paquin's attempt at being humorously rebellious, to see what the crew would say if she had pierced her nose mid-shoot. She found the fake ring in a 'neat junky jewelry store' in Toronto, and got it for free. To her disappointment, her attempt at being rebellious was well-received, as Carroll Ballard decided to use the nose-ring gag in the film as well.
The song "10,000 Miles" is originally an 18th century folk ballad. It was recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter specifically for this movie, and was subsequently released on her CD "Party Doll and Other Favorites" (1999).
According to the credits, the military aircraft were from New York. The F-16s belonged to the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard, and the C-130Hs belonged to the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve. They were not, however, located on the same base. The F-16s come from Syracuse, NY, and the transports were located at the time at Niagara Falls, NY.