‘Wings’ a film about Birds by Birds.

0_0_525_1_70_http---i“We put cameras on everything that moves,” says John Downer, the producer and director of Wings3D, a unique wildlife movie distributed by BBC Worldwide.
How do you capture thousands of hours of up-close-and-personal footage of tigers, polar bears, vultures, bald eagles and penguins in their natural element in ways that have never been seen before?
In the 2011-2012 series Earthflight, he placed cameras on trained birds, providing a totally unique POV (don’t worry, no birds were hurt).
In 2013, Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, part of Downer’s successful Spy wildlife series, drew more than 9 million viewers.
He’s used elephants as his cameramen as well, when filming tigers in India for Tiger: Spy in the Jungle.
He wanted to film tigers in a way that had never been seen before.
He realized they were comfortable around elephants, so his crew rode on elephants.
He knew that elephants liked to carry logs, so his crew put a camera on the end of a tree trunk. Downer says it was like having “a nature-made steadicam.”
As the elephants moved, the shots panned smoothly.
Wings3D relies on the science of avian imprinting, using trained birds, including a vulture, to capture scenes while the team flies alongside in a microlight aircraft.
The imprinted birds consider the pilot to be a parent.
The team also created a robotic vulture glider and attached a GoPro to a bald eagle, vulture and a fish eagle.
via In New Movie, Birds Are The Cinematographers | Nature | Science | Australian Popular Science.

The Godwit is the Champion of Non-stop flying.

bartailed-godwit-record_5800_600x450In 2007, a bar-tailed godwit made the longest nonstop bird migration ever recorded.
In nine days, it flew 7,145 miles (11,500 kilometers) from its breeding ground in Alaska to New Zealand without stopping for food or drink.
By the end of the epic journey, the bird had lost more than 50 percent of its body weight.
Bar-tailed Godwit_Sydney_101210_IMG_5700
via Animal Record Breakers

The Rufous-crested Coquette Hummingbird.

Photograph by Bernardo Roca-Rey Ross.
The rufous-crested coquette (Lophornis delattrei) is a rare hummingbird found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru.
The male has a characteristic orange crest which make this little bird quite special.
I had to wait quite some time until I was able to have a proper picture of this little bird: they are very small, fast and other bigger species of hummingbirds tend to chase him away.
I took this picture in northern Peru, close to the town of Moyobamba
Source: Rufous-crested Coquette Photo by Bernardo Roca-Rey Ross — National Geographic Your Shot

The Secretary Bird, snake hunter.

The Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius)
Their long gangly legs and striking facial palette may have you flicking past the Birds of Prey section in your Africa book, but they are actually thought to be most closely related to hawks and eagles.
Secretary birds eat whatever they want including mammals, birds, amphibians and (often venomous) reptiles.
Upon sighting something with lunch potential, Secretary birds will lash out with their long legs and well developed feet with impressive force.
Prey such as venomous adders and cobras are kicked straight in the head: by pounding the business end of the snake into the ground, the Secretary bird decreases the chance of lunch biting back.
Once it’s definitely ceased to live, the Secretary bird will swallow the snake whole like a string of spaghetti.
They will also stamp on tufts of grass to send any edible occupants running (probably unsuccessfully) for their lives.
Source: Blog – Get Involved – Horniman Museum and Gardens

‘Death from the Sky’.

Peregrine Falcon with Talons Open
The Peregrine falcon may be the perfect predator.
It dives from the sky in a daring plunge, snagging other airborne birds in mid-flight with its deadly talons.
Its body is the epitome of aerodynamic design, allowing it to reach—and survive—speeds that would kill other animals.
As it reaches its terminal velocity of over 200 mph, baffles in its nostrils prevent the force of the air from exploding its lungs—a feature that has been incorporated into jet engine design—and nictitating membranes on its eyes protect them from debris.
It snags its hapless victims in its talons, ending their terror with a killing blow from its deadly-sharp beak.
Read more via The Peregrine Falcon | Mendocino Brewing.