Fly across North America and become part of a flock of millions of snow geese as they discover what it's like to be on the hit-list of America's national bird: the bald eagle. Glide under San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge with pelicans and experience the sensation of being on the back of a bird as you are flown through Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and New York. 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. As we see the world through the eyes of birds, egrets show us the extraordinary habits of dolphins that strand themselves to feed. The dream of flying like a bird is nothing compared to the extraordinary reality.
Fly over Africa on the back of a vulture and see the most animal-packed continent with fresh eyes. Fly with kelp gulls as they study the hunting behavior of the greatest underwater predator of all: the great white shark. Circle with vultures high above the Serengeti as they watch the drama of the wildebeest migration below, and discover what happens when this canny scavenger suddenly becomes prey. Among toxic soda lakes, find out what it is like to be a flamingo, vulnerable to every predator on the continent, including baboons and hyenas. This is Africa as never seen before - from the wings of birds.
Earthflight departs on its grand European tour, using a host of techniques including taking extraordinary footage from microlights as they fly alongside imprinted birds. White storks leave Africa and struggle to reach Istanbul, the gateway to Europe, while cranes take an easier route over the monkey-guarded Rock of Gibraltar. The story takes an emotional turn as storks and swallows wait for their partners to return and indulge in a spot of DIY to impress. Finally, geese touch down in Svalbard to raise a family. To protect their young, a squadron of birds assemble to see off polar bears. With views of birds flying over the Loire Valley, London docklands and the bulb fields of Holland, this is Europe as never before.
Earthflight gives a bird's-eye view of South America, as condors soar along the Andes, scarlet macaws explore the heart of the Amazon and hummingbirds and vultures see the continent's greatest sights. In Patagonia, giant petrels shadow killer whales as they hunt seals by stranding their huge bodies on the beach. In a secret Andean location, condors soar in flocks over 40-strong and scavenge on casualties from herds of fighting guanacos. Elsewhere, a mother condor gently pushes her youngster to the edge of a 200-meter cliff, as flight school begins. Deep in the Amazon, macaws seek medicinal clay. In Costa Rica, black vultures descend on turtles as they lay their eggs in the sand and pick off the eggs that ping-pong through the air.
In this bird's-eye view of two continents, India-bound cranes negotiate a dangerous Himalayan pass while high-flying geese take the fast track five miles above. This remarkable nature documentary, narrated by David Tennant, shows vultures shadowing tigers while hoping for a meal and pigeons visiting a temple dedicated solely to sacred rats. In Australia, white cockatoos swirl in their thousands.
To fly like a bird, Earthflight not only captured remarkable images of wild flocks but also relied on some extraordinary relationships between people and birds. Filmed over four years, in six continents and more than 40 countries, the Earthflight team used many extraordinary techniques. For some of the unique flying shots, members of the team became part of the flock. The birds followed wherever they went - even in a microlight over Edinburgh and London. In South America, wild-living macaws, that were rescued as babies, still come back to visit their 'foster mother' as he travels along a jungle river. In Africa, a radio-controlled 'drone' silently infiltrates masses of pink flamingos without disturbing a feather. In the USA, a flock of hand-reared snow geese followed the migration route of wild flocks and took in the sights and sounds of New York - managing to get lost in Brooklyn.
© 2011 John Downer Productions
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