Meat Eaters • 1998 • episode "S1E4" The Life of Birds

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Birds eat more than berries; this episode takes a look at birds that eat meat.

The Life of Birds • 1998 • 10 episodes •

To Fly or Not to Fly?

The series begins with an in-depth look at flightless birds around the world.

1998 • Nature

The Mastery of Flight

The focus turns to the mastery of flight, from the science of gravity to the ability of birds to cover extremely long distances.

1998 • Nature

The Insatiable Appetite

Discovering the role of beaks within various species of birds.

1998 • Nature

Meat Eaters

Birds eat more than berries; this episode takes a look at birds that eat meat.

1998 • Nature

Fishing for a Living

Cameras follow birds as they dive into fresh and salt waters for their meals.

1998 • Nature

Signals and Songs

The myth that birds only sing for pleasure is destroyed as birdsongs become known as ways of communication.

1998 • Nature

Finding Partners

Male birds show off in the exotic ritual of mating.

1998 • Nature

The Demands of the Egg

Laying eggs and keeping nests are two things that keep birds grounded.

1998 • Nature

The Problems of Parenthood

Raising children is no easier in the air as it is on the ground, as bird parents care for, defend, and even kill their young.

1998 • Nature

The Limits of Endurance

Left to their own devices, birds have reached almost all ends of the Earth - still, humans can do many things to help their feathered friends.

1998 • Nature

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To the Ends of the Earth

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Autumn

For the animals in the polar regions, autumn means dramatic battles and epic journeys. Time is running out - the Arctic Ocean is freezing over and the sea ice is advancing at 2.5 miles per day around Antarctica. Polar bears gather in large numbers on the Arctic coast as they wait for the return of the ice. Soon, tempers fray and violent sparring contests break out. Meanwhile 2,000 beluga whales head for one special estuary, a gigantic 'whale spa' where they will thrash their snow-white bodies against the gravel and exfoliate. Inland, the tundra undergoes a dramatic transformation from green to fiery red. Here, musk ox males slam head-first into each other with the force of a 30mph car crash as they struggle to defend their harems. Frisky young caribou males play a game of 'grandma's footsteps' as they try to steal the boss's female. Down in Antarctica, Adelie penguin chicks huddle together in creches. When a parent returns from fishing, it leads its twins on a comical steeplechase - sadly there's only enough for one, so the winner gets the meal. Two months later and the chicks are fully feathered apart from downy Mohican hairdos - they're ready to take their first swim - reluctantly though, as it seems penguins are not born with a love of water! And with good reason - a leopard seal explodes from the sea and pulls one from an ice floe, a hunting manoeuvre that has never been filmed before. As winter approaches and everyone has left, the giant emperor penguin arrives and makes an epic trek inland to breed. The mothers soon return to the sea leaving the fathers to hold the eggs and endure the coldest winter on earth.

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What makes plants grow is a simple enough question, but the answer turns out to be one of the most complicated and fascinating stories in science and took over 300 years to unravel. Timothy Walker, director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden, reveals how the breakthroughs of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, Chelsea gardener Phillip Miller and English naturalist John Ray created the science of botany. Between them these quirky, temperamental characters unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom and they began to glimpse a world where bigger, better and stronger plants could be created. Nurseryman Thomas Fairchild created the world's first artificial hybrid flower - an entirely new plant that didn't exist in nature. Today, botanists continue the search for new flowers, better crops and improved medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.

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The Super Squirrels

The squirrel family is one of the most widespread on earth, so what is the secret to their success? There are squirrels that can glide through the air, outwit rattlesnakes and survive the coldest temperatures of any mammal. We uncover the extraordinary abilities of these cheeky characters, putting their problem solving to the test on a specially designed assault course. We team up with some of the world's top squirrel scientists who are making groundbreaking discoveries - from the fox squirrel who can remember the location of 9,000 nuts to the grey squirrel whose tree-top leaps are the basis of new designs in robotics. We also see the world through the eyes of an orphan red squirrel called Billy, as he grows up and develops all the skills he will need to be released back to the wild. It is time to meet the animal family we should never underestimate - the super squirrels.

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Talking Plants

Plants are able to communicate with each other in ways we are only now beginning to understand. Some plants can differentiate between roots of their "family" and roots of other kinds of plants when they touch underground. See how plants "talk" to each other and find out what they talk about!

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