Flying with Birds


Christian Moullec
Les Chatfield< via Flickr

Is it possible for people to fly like birds? Colin Lowther and Liz Waid look at a television series about birds.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

The baby stork is lost. He was flying with many other birds, including his parents. They were migrating - making their yearly trip north. But because he is just a baby, the little stork could not fly fast enough. The other birds left him behind. Now he is in danger. There are wild animals in the area. He is not strong enough to escape from them. And he is getting hungry. Big vultures also fly above him. They are waiting for him to die. All hope seems lost. Then, all at once, another group of storks appear. They too are flying to the north. With them he is safe, and he flies away with them.

Voice 2 

This is part of a recent television series from the BBC. It is called “Earth Flight”. This series shows the world through the eyes of birds. It follows birds as they migrate, hunt and raise young. The filmmakers travelled and filmed very close to the birds. Today’s Spotlight is on “Earth Flight”, and the way filmmakers captured these amazing images.

Voice 1

“Earth Flight” is a series of six programs. Each program covers a different continent. And the last program shows how the filmmakers made the series. It took the filmmakers three and a half years to complete the filming. And they used many different ways to film.

Voice 2 

In one part, cameras follow barnacle geese as they migrate through the United Kingdom. The geese live in the United Kingdom during the winter. Then they migrate north for the summer months. Several million geese make this trip to have their babies. They fly in groups in the shape of a large V. They change places with each other to protect the birds that are less strong.

Voice 1 

The camera seems to float next to these birds as they fly. One camera operator later said that the birds were close enough to touch! They were flying with the birds. But they did not frighten the birds. Instead, they were part of the V. This was because of one man: Christian Moullec.

Voice 2 

Christian Moullec lives in France. Since 1996, he has been raising barnacle geese and other birds. The birds live in his home, with his family. He and his family raise the birds from eggs. He is like a mother to the birds. They even sleep in the same room with him and his wife! When it is time for them to fly, he flies with them.

Voice 1 

Moullec uses a very small, light airplane. It is like a little chair, with wings, and a small engine behind. The birds can see him clearly, and can fly close to him. Moullec uses this “microlite” to guide the birds on their yearly migration. He does this for one simple reason. The number of barnacle geese has been decreasing. They are in danger of dying out completely, and becoming extinct. By raising birds this way, and training them, Moullec and his family can help increase the numbers of geese again.

He told the Daily Mail newspaper,

Voice 3 

“My wife and I have worked to save a kind of wild goose. It is on the edge of becoming extinct. We are working to establish new groups in other good places across Europe. I thank the birds for the gift they have given me. This gift is to observe them in flight.”

Voice 2 

The filmmakers from Earth Flight wanted to work with Moullec, to show the barnacle geese migration. So they flew with him. They held heavy cameras and flew right next to the geese. The film shows the birds as they fly over the city of London and across the United Kingdom. Viewers experience, in a small way, what Moullec experiences when he flies with the geese.

Voice 1 

Filmmakers used similar methods with other geese in North America. In each place, the methods were a little different. With the geese in North America, filmmakers also attached small cameras to trained geese. These images show what the goose is seeing as it travels. It shows the goose’s images of New York City, for example. The geese fly through this great city. The tall buildings send up great gusts of wind, blowing air high. The geese float on this air, and it gives them a short break - even while they fly!

Voice 2 

But this method only works with particular kinds of birds. Vultures are big, heavy birds. They live in many parts of the world. They also fly high in the air, looking for food. They eat meat - animals that have died. The filmmakers wanted to film them as they flew. But they could not train vultures in the same way that Moullec had trained his geese. So they tried a different method.

Voice 1 

They made a model vulture. This vulture would look like a real bird to other vultures. It would fly, and the filmmakers could control its movements. And it would carry a camera. The camera recorded many amazing images of the other vultures. Then, the filmmakers brought the model back to the ground. It had survived surprisingly well. The model only lost its nose!

Voice 2 

But the model was not enough. The filmmakers also trained a real vulture to fly from a small microlite airplane. Like the North American geese, the vulture carried a camera. Then, they released this vulture among wild vultures in Africa. The camera recorded the vultures hunting and nesting - images that could not be recorded in any other way.

Voice 1 

The filmmakers used this method with many other birds, including condors in South America. But they also used normal nature photography to capture some amazing images. Huge eagles stealing fish from hairy bears in the far north of America. A tiny swallow catching an insect. Macaws flying through the jungle.

Voice 2 

In each situation, the filmmakers show the life and experience of birds. The first words in the series are: “It is a dream of many, to fly like a bird”. To make these programmes, men have learned to fly with the birds.

Voice 1 

To see videos from the Earth Flight series, visit our website, www.radioenglish.net. You can see video of the geese, the vultures, and many others.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Shelagh Godwin. The producer was Luke Haley. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Flying with Birds’.

Voice 1 

You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Would you like to fly like a bird? Do you like to watch films of birds flying?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Narath
said on May 22, 2012

It is a amazing that you are able to fly follow the birds . If I were you , I would feel freedom . When I am in trouble or bad mood I like listening to music and look at the birds are flying . It makes me feel relax and freedom .

From Cambodia

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sahtekarne23
said on May 26, 2012

wonderfull

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jack shin
said on June 26, 2013

what a beautiful scene of nature in this world!
thank you spotlight and thank them for their devotion!

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paulo86nirisco
said on June 29, 2013

I liked this program thaNk you SPOTLIGHT

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Dela
said on July 06, 2013

I watched a series of six programs called ‘‘Earth Flight’’ on television some time ago. I have admired hard work of the filmmakers and the excellent results they have reached for.
Thanks for an article!

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November Green
said on July 15, 2019

These are amazing videos