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Simply the Best Documentaries

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The Moon
Atom: The Clash of Titans
Workingman Death
The Art of Persuasion
WWII In 3D
Kings
Deliver Us From Evil
Stephen Hawking Favorite Places II
Art of Eternity: Painting Paradise
R.E.M. by MTV
Race for Absolute Zero
Off the Scale
Himalaya with Michael Palin: North by Northwest
Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways
The Cell: The Hidden Kingdom
Video Games: The Movie
Flight of the Butterflies
Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie
Blackfish
The Secret Life of Chaos
Is Poverty Genetic
The Power Of The Placebo
What Have UFOs Done for Us
How to Stay Young The Brain
Is Gravity An illusion
Dont Grow Old
Dawn of the Driverless Car
Feed up
Polar Bears: A Summer Odyssey
I am Ali
Cocaine Cowboys
How Big How Far How Fast
Birth of the British Novel
Blues for a Red Planet
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy 1
Once Brothers

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To Fly or Not to Fly
To Fly or Not to Fly 1998

The first episode looks at how birds first took to the skies in the wake of the insects. It begins in Mexico, where Sir Attenborough observes bats being outmanoeuvred by a red-tailed hawk. Pterosaurs were the birds' forerunners, some 150 million years after dragonflies developed the means of flight, but eventually went extinct together with the dinosaurs. Birds had by then already evolved from early forms like archaeopteryx, the first creature to possess feathers. Its ancestry can be traced through reptiles, and some current species, such as the flying lizard, possibly show paths this evolution may have taken." One of the biggest birds to have ever existed was the terror bird, which proliferated after dinosaurs vanished and stood up to 2.5 metres tall. By comparison, the ostrich, while not closely related, is the largest and heaviest living bird. It was probably the evasion of predators that drove most birds into the air, so their flightless cousins evolved because they had few enemies. Accordingly, such species are more likely to be found on islands, and Sir Attenborough visits New Zealand to observe its great variety, most especially the kiwi. Also depicted is the moa, another huge creature that is now gone. The takahē is extremely rare, and high in the mountains of New Zealand, Sir Attenborough discovers one from a population of only 40 pairs. Finally, another example on the brink of extinction is the kakapo, which at one point numbered only 61 individuals. A male is heard calling — an immensely amplified deep note that can be heard at great distances from its nest.

Category:Nature  Duration:50:00   Series: The Life of Birds

 
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