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The Mastery of Flight

   1998    Nature
The second programme deals with the mechanics of flight. Getting into the air is by far the most exhausting of a bird's activities, and Sir Attenborough observes shearwaters in Japan that have taken to climbing trees to give them a good jumping-off point. The albatross is so large that it can only launch itself after a run-up to create a flow of air over its wings. A combination of aerodynamics and upward air currents (or thermals), together with the act of flapping or gliding is what keeps a bird aloft. Landing requires less energy but a greater degree of skill, particularly for a big bird, such as a swan. Weight is kept to a minimum by having a beak made of keratin instead of bone, a light frame, and a coat of feathers, which is maintained fastidiously. The peregrine falcon holds the record for being fastest in the air, diving at speeds of over 300 km/h. Conversely, the barn owl owes its predatory success to flying slowly, while the kestrel spots its quarry by hovering. However, the true specialists in this regard are the hummingbirds, whose wings beat at the rate of 25 times a second. The habits of migratory birds are explored. After stocking up with food during the brief summer of the north, such species will set off on huge journeys southwards. Some, such as snow geese, travel continuously, using both the stars and the sun for navigation. They are contrasted with hawks and vultures, which glide overland on warm air, and therefore have to stop overnight.
Series: The Life of Birds

Japan at War

       History
Japan's role in World War II gets a whole new perspective in this consisting entirely of full colour footage, including colour films from Japan that were recently discovered. As the visuals of the world war take on a new vivid immediateness, the story of the rise of the militarists in Japan is told through the personal writings of the Japanese themselves. From the first overconfident tastes of victory, to the devastating losses that led to an unthinkable defeat amidst the ruins, the Pacific Theater of World War II is told through the Japanese's eyes.

History of the Eagles
History of the Eagles

   2013    History
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
Lost Kingdoms of South America
Lost Kingdoms of South America

   2013    History
Earth, the Power of the Planet
Earth, the Power of the Planet

   2007    Nature
The Sky at Night
The Sky at Night

   2018    Science
Speed
Speed

   2019    Technology
The Hunt
The Hunt

   2015    Nature