What would it be like to see the world from a bird’s perspective? To experience
riding on the backs of bald eagles and snow geese or flying alongside a flock of
brown pelicans as they scan and dive for fish in the ocean below.
State-of-the-art technology and sophisticated camera techniques have now made it
possible to do just that and more as EARTHFLIGHT, A Nature
SpecialPresentation takes viewers on a breathtaking
aerial adventure over six continents.
Witness some of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles, struggles, migrations,
and stunning landscapes from a bird’s-eye view when EARTHFLIGHT,
A Nature Special Presentation. Each episode is available
for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.
It took EARTHFLIGHT series producer John Downer and his team four
years to film more than 100 bird species in 40 different countries. Whether
retracing the North American flight paths taken by thousands of migrating wild
snow geese traveling to their Arctic breeding grounds or witnessing, for the
first time, the aerobatics of devil rays as they somersault and splash back into
the sea, the goal was to show the world on the wings of birds.
Q&A with John Downer, John Downer Productions:
you mount a camera to a bird?
camera-carrying birds wore specially-designed harnesses. They were created to be
as comfortable as possible and not interfere with the birds in flight. All the
birds were trained to become used to flying with the harness before the camera
explain what using “imprinted birds” means?
Imprinting is a technique where birds are exposed to a foster parent as soon as
they hatch. They then react to this surrogate parent as if it were their mother,
following “her” wherever she goes. We imprinted our birds on selected crew
members so they’d fly alongside their human “mother” as soon as they were able
to fly, even if this person was in a moving boat or vehicle or even up in a
What do you
viewers will take away from the series?
hope that people will discover that birds are clever and adaptable creatures
often with a complex social life not so different from our own. They have an
unrivalled knowledge of the life of the planet and through their remarkable
journeys they bring countries and continents
in ways that are constantly surprising.
CLICK HERE to read more questions and answers
To capture a view of the greatest gathering of wild flamingos seen in 20 years,
the team employed a variety of spycams. Remote cameras were buried at a favorite
drinking spot by Kenya’s Lake Bogoria, while another camera was disguised as a
mini-flock of floating flamingos. To film scenes from above, a radio-controlled
drone was used with great success to silently infiltrate masses of the skittish