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Earthflight North America

   2012    Nature
A bird's-eye view of some of the world's greatest natural spectacles. Amazing sights from five continents are revealed in a whole new light. Using cutting edge new filming techniques to show everything in exquisite detail, viewers have a uniquely privileged perspective. The first episode takes flight across North America, as a flock of millions of snow geese discover what it is like to be on the hit list of America's national bird: the bald eagle. In California, pelicans reveal devil rays that perform astonishing somersaults and find bizarre grunion fish that wriggle ashore to spawn. In Alaska, bald eagles swoop among brown bears fishing for salmon. And on the Great Plains, cowbirds duck and dive under the feet of fighting bison.
Series: Earthflight

The Mastery of Flight

   1998    Nature
The second programme deals with the mechanics of flight. Getting into the air is by far the most exhausting of a bird's activities, and Sir Attenborough observes shearwaters in Japan that have taken to climbing trees to give them a good jumping-off point. The albatross is so large that it can only launch itself after a run-up to create a flow of air over its wings. A combination of aerodynamics and upward air currents (or thermals), together with the act of flapping or gliding is what keeps a bird aloft. Landing requires less energy but a greater degree of skill, particularly for a big bird, such as a swan. Weight is kept to a minimum by having a beak made of keratin instead of bone, a light frame, and a coat of feathers, which is maintained fastidiously. The peregrine falcon holds the record for being fastest in the air, diving at speeds of over 300 km/h. Conversely, the barn owl owes its predatory success to flying slowly, while the kestrel spots its quarry by hovering. However, the true specialists in this regard are the hummingbirds, whose wings beat at the rate of 25 times a second. The habits of migratory birds are explored. After stocking up with food during the brief summer of the north, such species will set off on huge journeys southwards. Some, such as snow geese, travel continuously, using both the stars and the sun for navigation. They are contrasted with hawks and vultures, which glide overland on warm air, and therefore have to stop overnight.
Series: The Life of Birds

Asia and Australia

   2012    Nature
In this bird's-eye view of two continents, demoiselle cranes negotiate a dangerous Himalayan pass on their way to India while high-flying bar-headed geese take the fast track five miles above. In Rajasthan, vultures watch hunting tigers hoping for a meal and pigeons visit a temple dedicated solely to sacred rats. Pigeons are also our guide to the greatest gatherings of camels on Earth and learn to dodge buzzards around the battlements of Jodhpur Fort. 9,000 cranes overwinter in the most unlikely of spots - a barbed wire compound in the centre of a desert town. In Australia, rainbow lorikeets drop in on Sydney and patrol Australia's Gold Coast. In the outback, white cockatoos swirl in thousands and budgerigars pass Uluru (Ayers Rock) and gather in the biggest flocks ever recorded. In China, swallows and swifts visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City of Beijing. In Japan, the country's most revered birds - Japanese cranes are fed fish by appreciative locals and are joined in strange, momentary harmony by hungry red foxes, white-tailed eagles and Steller's eagles. As peace descends, Japanese cranes dance beautifully in the snow.
Series: Earthflight
Bronze Age
Bronze Age

   2016    History
Through the Wormhole Season 8
Through the Wormhole Season 8

   2017    Science
The Cell
The Cell

   2009    Science
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
The Normans
The Normans

   2010    History
Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II

   2017    Nature