May 2020

Bird Videos, the Sequel

The first installment of Bird Videos in October 2019 featured individual selections, chosen for their artistic, environmental, or educational merit. This second episode is focused mainly on collections. Multiple high quality videos are available from each general link below, with a few truly exceptional items highlighted. Other than the Netflix offerings, all are free.

Lang Elliot was mentioned here before, in the Bird Language article this January. His astonishingly lifelike recordings form the backbone of many bird song guides. Amazingly, he is also a gifted, dedicated videographer, and his short "portraits"[1] are unequaled for learning avian vocalizations. For many of us, it is only when we actually see a bird singing that we are able to easily associate its song with its appearance. His videos help achieve this integration flawlessly. He also includes frog species and environmental soundscapes in his full Music of Nature[2] YouTube channel.

More directly intended for educational purposes, the phenomenally extensive catalog of Cornell Labs' Bird Academy[3] media library includes 175 individual videos covering all aspects of their courses. Generously, they have made every one available to non-subscribers. The "curated collection"(!) has a system of filters that allow visitors to focus on specific topics, although simple browsing opens up unexpected surprises. Ever wondered (did we even know?) How A Parrot Learns Its Name In The Wild[4]? The Bird Academy knows, and will show you.

Definitely not free, but available to their many subscribers, Netflix has a number of intriguing bird-related films available beyond staples such as Big Year and the like, but they can be hard to find. Two representative free trailers shown through YouTube include The Birders[5] a documentary about birdwatchers and conservationists on both sides of the US-Mexico border, and also Dancing With the Birds[6], the quintessential global breeding display extravaganza. Possibly not reason alone to subscribe, but existing members will likely find even more, and equally worthwhile, birdy videos through careful, persistent search.

The highest recommendation among this article's suggestions goes to a series from Topic Studio, an independent production company. With unassuming, engaging, and insightful host Jason Ward, who exemplifies "Birding While Brown" (video #5), Topic presents a unique series of 21 short videos entitled Birds of North America[7] (a Favorite). Each all-too-brief episode offers so much information and unexpected entertainment that it would take many viewings of them all to come even close to choosing one as "best". With a continuously creative perspective on birds, birders, and birding, they're all winners!

The Bird Wide Web™ will be publishing a new article on the beginning of each month.

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