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Secret Life of Birds [DVD]
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Travelling from wild coastlines to urban habitats, this fascinating natural history series from the BBC explores the behaviour of birds, revealing all aspects of their lives, from surviving harsh winters and avoiding predators to living alongside us in towns and cities. Host and wildlife expert Iolo Williams discovers how birds have adapted to changing landscapes, studying their ability to fly and how their unique design, colour and camouflage enables them to live in many habitats, as well as uncovering their courtship and nesting rituals and finding out how and why they communicate. Offering a visual treat of stunning landscapes and captivating wildlife behaviour, The Secret Life of Birds provides perfect family entertainment educating and enthralling in equal measure.
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Top Customer Reviews
The filming and production is of the high quality that one would expect from the BBC, and there are some quite breathtaking sequences: Starlings gathering in their thousands to roost, glossy Black Grouse strutting their stuff at the lek, and, best of all, a stunning male Hen Harrier performing a dramatic aerial display fight, including a food-pass to the female. But this series doesn't simply target the more glamorous species, and I really liked the fact that, alongside the crowd-pleasers, it also focuses on more ordinary, everyday birds.
As personable and as passionate as Chris Packham, Iolo could scarcely be a better qualified guide on this voyage of discovery through Wales. And while Iolo rightly seems proud of his country and its amazing wildlife, he never displays the kind of puffed-up nationalistic fervour that, as an English former resident of Wales, I have encountered all too often, and which can be quite off-putting, to say the least.
I do, however, have two gripes, though they are both fairly minor and do not warrant a change to my overall rating of the series.
Firstly, the five half-hour episodes are spread out over three discs, and it would be nice to have them all on one. Secondly, there is surely something of a mismatch between the title of this series and the fact that it ONLY focuses on Wales. Although the rather parochial feel to the programmes is perhaps understandable given that it appears they were originally broadcast only in Wales, for a general DVD release called 'The Secret Life of Birds' it does feel a little odd at times.Read more ›
For me there were plenty of secrets, some more spectacular than others, such as the aerial passing of freshly caught prey between a pair of hen harriers, or a treecreeper hollowing out a cosy sleeping hole in the bark of a giant redwood. More harrowing though was the story of the pigeons: diligently building their nest in Cardiff, taking turns to sit on eggs for three weeks, despite the rain, then four days of feeding until the sparrowhawk arrived - cruel curtains for the chicks as the helpless parents watched on.
I now know how to recognise, and where to find, many more types of birds but I suspect some enthusiasts will feel short-changed by the exclusion of certain species - did I blink and miss the osprey? That apart, I think it makes a fantastic introduction, or a great reminder, of the rich variety of our bird life across Wales, and aspects of behaviour most of us miss - both an inspiration and a snapshot in time.
Huw Jenkins, guest editor of Natur Cymru
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not the best DVD for bird documentaries. It wasn't serious or scientific enough but it contained birds so wasn't awful!Published 13 months ago by BirdNerdSophie