With the arrival of spring, days grow longer and temperatures rise. But spring in Alaska is short. Animals have two months to feed, and start a family, while avoiding predators. Spring is also the time that millions of birds return to Alaska.
As temperatures hit minus 60 food becomes scarce, and animals such as foxes and hares shed their colourful coats to camouflage themselves in the snow. The end of winter heralds one of the world's greatest feeding frenzies as large ocean predators target the millions of fish who have found refuge in the Gulf of Alaska.
2017 • Nature
Young animals prepare for their first winter away from their parents, humpback whales return to Alaska's rich feeding grounds and salmon return to spawn in the rivers where they were hatched. But the returning salmon have to negotiate a path past hungry brown bears fattening themselves before they hibernate.
2017 • Nature
How and why dogs have become such good working companions, including Midge, the world's first police Chihuahua, and Joey, a sheepdog from the Cotswolds. Mother-of-four Toni Curtis gives her remarkable account of the fateful day when she was swept out to sea off the north coast of Wales and how she owes her life to the Newfoundland dog that saved her life..
Sophie is joined in the theatre by chirping crickets, hissing cockroaches and groaning deer to reveal the very different ways that animals have adapted their bodies to send audible messages that are vital to their species. She also explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world. She demonstrates what sound actually is and how it travels. Unpacking the power behind sound, she uses it to shatter glass and reveal how the human body can resonate in a way that amplifies our voices to send our messages further. She also explores how different species use very different frequencies to communicate and why humans can only hear a fraction of these animal messages. Finally, she investigates why we all have unique vocal prints, and how computers are learning to recognise these.
1/3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • Nature
From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanic eruptions, natural disasters are both terrifying and fascinating - providing endless fresh material for documentary makers. But how well do disaster documentaries keep pace with the scientific theories that advance every day? To try and answer that question, Professor Danielle George is plunging into five decades of BBC archive. What she uncovers provides an extraordinary insight into one of the fastest moving branches of knowledge. From the legendary loss of Atlantis to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Danielle reveals how film-makers have changed their approach again and again in the light of new scientific theories. While we rarely associate Britain with major natural disaster, at the end of the programme Danielle brings us close to home, exploring programmes which suggest that 400 years ago Britain was hit by a tidal wave that killed hundreds of people, and that an even bigger tsunami could threaten us again.
From penguins whose salt-removing eye glands shield them from the harsh ocean to caterpillars whose fake facial markings are meant to mimic a snake's, animals have evolved in amazing ways to see and be seen. Meet these creatures and see how they use eyes and illusions to their advantage.