The Life of Birds

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  • 2009 (10)
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  • Life of Birds: Meat Eaters

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    From meat eating parrots in New Zealand to massive eagles that catch monkeys and flamingoes in Africa, David Attenborough looks at the dramatic ways in which these birds hunt their prey. To hunt, birds need super-senses and great skill. Some birds use exceptional hearing to track down their prey, while others use their supreme vision or a heightened sense of smell.moreless
  • The Mastery of Flight

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough offers an array of insights in to how birds have adapted to the air space and perfected the skills needed to fly. Though take-off is exhausting, and landing can be fraught with difficulties, birds are the masters of the air. They can fly with their wings back at speeds in excess of two hundred miles per hour, or remain in a completely stationary hover. But how do birds even manage to stay airborne?moreless
  • Finding Partners

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough reveals how male birds use both extraordinary displays and bizarre rituals in order to turn a females head, and how for many species its girl power that rules the dating game. Curassows and guans have bizarre calls that sound just like dropping bombs and electric drills. On the Galapagos Islands, frigate birds pump up their vivid red throat pouches. While the tiny fairy wren of southern Australia is revealed as the most promiscuous bird in the world.moreless
  • The Insatiable Appetite

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    A beak made from horn, without any teeth, might seem a clumsy implement for gathering food. Yet David Attenborough discovers that birds have evolved an amazing range of bill shapes and sizes designed to hammer out grubs from trees, winkle out tiny seeds from fruits, and sip nectar from the deep recesses of flowers.moreless
  • The Problems of Parenthood

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough looks at the fascinating diversity of feeding practices and behavioural patterns employed by birds. Sweeping through an incredible range of species, including pelicans, sea eagles, babblers and finch chicks, it offers a thorough study of the way in which birds solve the problems of parenthood.moreless
  • The Eloquent Communicators

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough reveals how birds have become expert communicators and use extraordinary patterns of colour and beautiful songs to deter predators, intimidate rivals and even impress potential mates. In Patagonia, he enters into a morse code conversation with one of the worlds largest woodpeckers. While the lyrebird of southern Australia has its own comprehensive selection of musical notes, but it also steals sounds from its environment and incorporates them into its own repertoire.moreless
  • The Limits of Endurance

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough concludes his series exploring the evolution and behaviour of birds by looking at how birds cope with living in some of the harshest and most bizarre places on the planet. From huddled masses of emperor penguins in the Antarctic winter to the sand grouse in the burning African desert, it is a story of surviving the Earths extremes.moreless
  • The Demands of the Egg

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough explores the extraordinary variety of ways in which birds from all over the world construct their nests and protect their eggs from predators. Because birds need to be light in order to fly, each egg must be laid as soon as it is produced and then kept both warm and protected. So the vast majority of birds make nests of some kind. Australian warblers use their beaks like a sewing machine to stitch leaves together, and apostle birds use them to trowel mud on their nests.moreless
  • To Fly or Not to Fly

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    David Attenborough presents a ten-part insight into the evolution and behaviours of birds. In this first programme, computer graphics recreate the period 150 million years ago when small, fast-running dinosaurs evolved feathers and took to the air. In New Zealand, David examines the environment required by birds which have survived without recourse to flight, and enjoys a midnight encounter with a kiwi, captured on a starlight-sensitive camera.moreless
  • Fishing for a Living

    Full Episode

    S 2009 : Ep 04.10.09 - 4/10/09

    Fresh and salt waters all over the world are rich in food and birds are the best fishers there are. David Attenborough follow birds from across the globe, including common mallards, revealing them as exquisite divers and American dippers who prise small creatures from underneath rocks in Yellowstone National Park. Wherever there is water, there are birds, who have learnt to get food there.moreless
  • Meat-Eaters

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 12.31.98 - 12/31/98

    There are parrots in New Zealand called keas that fancy something a little more interesting than the usual fruit and nuts they eat meat. To hunt, birds need super-senses and great skill. Great grey owls in North America can listen in super-stereo to the movements and noises made by lemmings hidden away under a thick blanket by snow. In Europe, kestrels are a familiar sight hovering over motorway verges. Using their ultra-violet vision, kestrels position themselves over areas where voles have marked their tracks with drops of urine, which is very conspicuous in ultra-violet. In the rainforests of Trinidad, David Attenborough finds a bird with an acute sense of smell. Attenborough buries a piece of meat under some leaves and twigs and retreats to a distant vantage point.moreless
  • Signals and Songs

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 10.14.98 - 10/14/98

    Birds have become expert communicators and use extraordinary patterns of color and beautiful songs to deter predators, intimidate rivals and even impress potential mates. In Patagonia, one of the world's largest woodpeckers taps out communications using its beak. While the lyrebird of southern Australia has its own comprehensive selection of musical notes, but it also steals sounds from its environment and incorporates them into its own repertoire.moreless
  • The Limits of Endurance

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 10 - 12/23/98

    A look at how birds deal with hostile environments and with people. The episode ranges from crows in Japan that use traffic to crack nuts to penguins who never see a person but make long treks through frigid wastes.moreless
  • The Problems of Parenthood

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 9 - 12/16/98

    This episode looks at the problems birds face in raising their young. It ranges from parrots who are very active parents to cuckoos who are famous for foisting the job off on others.moreless
  • The Demands of the Egg

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 8 - 12/9/98

    A look at eggs and what birds go through to produce and protect them. This episode ranges from mating flights to fledging of offspring. Species examined include frigate birds and toucans as well as weaver birds and cuckoos.

    moreless
  • Finding Partners

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 7 - 12/2/98

    A look at how birds attract and select mates. The survey ranges from common birds such as the sparrow to the more exotic frigate birds, and Jamaican hummingbirds. Other segments concentrate on the dancing associated with the courtship of grebes and the artistic collections of bower birds.moreless
  • Signals and Songs

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 6 - 11/25/98

    A look at the way birds communicate. The program shows us how calls of warning can unite a community of birds against a larger predator and how other calls may be used to attract mates.moreless
  • Fishing for a Living

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 5 - 11/18/98

    A look at those birds that look to fishing as their main food source. From gulls and ducks to cormorants and cranes.
  • The Insatiable Appetite

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 3 - 11/4/98

    A look at the constant need to feed necessitated by the demands of flight in species from sap suckers and crows, to robins and geese.
  • The Mastery of Flight

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 2 - 10/28/98

    A look at the anatomical changes caused by birds taking to the air.
  • To Fly or Not to Fly

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 1 - 10/21/98

    This episode looks at the origins of flight.
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