Simply the Best Documentaries

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The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 2
Life: Reptiles and Amphibians
Sisters of the Sun
Is There a Shadow Universe
Florence and the Uffizi Gallery
Alive Inside
The Challenger
JFK: To the Brink
Across the Hindu Kush
Deep Sea
A Leap of Faith
St Peter and the Papal Basilicas of Rome
An Everyday Miracle
Conquistadors: The Fall of the Aztecs
A Passage to India
Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie
History of the Eagles 2
The Home
History of the Eagles 3 of 4
Kingdom of Plants Life in the Wet Zone
Ancient Rome: Nero
History of the Eagles 4 of 4
Blood Brother
The Moon
Hitting the Apex
Jason and the Golden Fleece
Atom: The Key to the Cosmos
The life of Buddha
What is the Right Diet for You 3of3
Did Darwin kill God
Who are We
What the World is Waiting for - British Indie
Roving Mars

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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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