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With breath taking close-up aerial footage, this spectacular film unravels the mysteries of bird flight.
Billions of birds perish every year while migrating, dying of hunger, thirst, exhaustion and environmental poisons. Others fall victim to hunters, windmills and power lines. Predators attack them in the air and while they’re sleeping. But why do birds then go through the hardships of migration year after year? How has bird migration changed over the generations? How do barnacle geese find their way from the River Ems in northern Germany to the Arctic Circle? How does a young stork know how to get to Africa, who was never there before?
“Migrating Birds – Scouts of distant Worlds” accompanies with breathtaking aerial footage our white storks on their first trip over France and Spain, the huge waters of the Strait of Gibraltar and the dangerous Sahara in order to reach the elephants and giraffes in Kenia and Tanzania. It is a perilous journey for the young Borni and his traveling mates.
The film flies with our starlings to Rome, and with our wild geese – with barnacle goose Frieda in particular – to the Barents Sea on the Russian polar circle, making us humans experience first hand the many hardships our feathered, familiar neighbors must endure.
The film team is there when greylag geese hatch, when they train with their beloved human and finally discover the adventure of flying – in the service of science – and with tiny transmitters and data-loggers attached to their back. Despite all the groundbreaking discoveries of recent years, we still don’t not even understand completely how birds find their way.
Through light and small transmitters scientists want to register every movement of their flight and relay their GPS coordinates and get a wealth of new data on altitude, air resistance and energy consumption, or changes in the environment.
Their aim is not only to unravel the mysteries of bird flight but also to better understand and predict through these data everything on local wind conditions, catastrophic storms, incipient earthquakes and even locust plagues. When birds change their flight routes, there’s always a reason – and future changes could be so radical to turn our migrating birds into permanent residents.
Meanwhile a team of researchers is teaching a group of Northern bald ibises to become migratory birds again. The cute birds were extinct in Europe over 300 years ago. It is an extraordinary flying experience between humans and animals to travel in an ultra-light over the Alps and glide over Venice, Florence and down to the South of Tuscany.
Film and Festival Awards!
- Winner at the European Science TV & New Media Festival 2018 – Environment Award
- New York Festivals World’s Best TV and Films
- Gold Medal Award – Nature and Wildlife
- Winner at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in Tokyo
A colourFIELD production commissioned by ARTE in co-operation with ZDF