Feathered Friends DVD
A review by Diane Porter
I spent a delightful rainy afternoon watching this DVD, with remote in hand so that I could go back for a second look at many amazing scenes. I kept asking myself how photographer Leon Lorenz could possibly have gotten such intimate views of birds in their natural settings, performing their innate behavior.
A pair of American Dippers feeds their wide-mouthed young in a nest concealed in the rocky bank of a rapid river.
A Ruffed Grouse steps confidently up on a log, stretches himself up taller than I would have thought possible, fans his tail, and beats his wings to create an accellerating roar. A coyote sneaks up from behind the bird. The grouse takes flight just moments before the coyote would have had it in its jaws.
A mother Harlequin Duck escorts her newly-hatched chicks down a torrent that bounces and tosses the infant ducks in the waves.
A pair of Eastern Kingbirds gets into a disagreement over the size of dragonflies to feed their nestlings. This is not anthropomorphizing. You can really see that one parent is trying to feed a dragonfly that is much too big for the 4-day-old chicks, while the other parent protests vocally and tries to take away the dragonfly.
There's a nice section interviewing Edgar T. Jones, who has banded over 100,000 birds in Alberta to help advance our knowledge of birds and their movements. With great gentleness and expertise he removes a Saw-whet Owl from the net and gives us a look at this tiny owl that few people ever see. He shows how the Black-capped Chickadee bites at him, while the Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler is more docile.
Another section features falconer Mark Williams and his peregrine-gyrfalcon cross. Watching him prepare his bird for flight, I felt as if I were watching a medieval nobleman in his royal sport. After the falconer releases it, the bird climbs high into the sky and dives with astonishing speed and agility on a flock of ducks, its prey.
Many mammals are seen in passing, just as if we were exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains in person: moose, grizzly bear, coyote, beaver, deer, marmot, wolverine, wild sheep, and others. The scenery is gorgeous. The sounds of birds and water are the natural voices of the wilderness.
It's a glorious, stunning piece of work, the gold sifted from one photographer's lifetime of experience out of doors.
See birds in action
These species are
shown and identified in the DVD.