In this popular weekly series, ornithologist and “celebrity bird man” Ken Dial takes viewers on adventures in birdwatching across North and Central America. The series originally aired on Animal Planet, and on Discovery Channels worldwide.
LENGTH: 13 x 24 Minutes
INTERNATIONAL TRACK: Yes
CLOSED CAPTIONS: No
ASPECT RATIO: 4:3
PRODUCTION YEAR: 1998-1999
RELEASE YEAR: 1999
SUPPLIER: Incandescent Entertainment
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide exclusive of USA
Episode 1o1: FLORIDA WADING BIRDS Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a birding hot spot in Sanibel, Florida. Ding Darling is filled with glamorous wading birds. Numerous species of spectacular birds visit or live at Ding Darling such as Roseate Spoonbills, Great Blue Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Brown Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants, White Ibis and Red-shouldered Hawks.
Episode 102: MASSACHUSETTS SONGBIRDS Ken joins a tour lead by Marj Rines of the Brookline Bird Club in the Mount Auburn Cemetery. The group ventures into the famous burial ground of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Winslow Homer at dawn to catch a glimpse of the songbirds in their finest breeding plumage. Songbirds such as the Tennessee Warbler and the Scarlet Tanager flit about the trees in morning song. Meet ornithologist Don Kroodsma to learn about bird songs. Using a parabolic microphone, Don records the dawn chorus of the songbirds and then studies them at his lab.
Episode 103: AVIAN PARENTING Ken Dial explores different avian parenting techniques. Ken meets with ornithologist Josh Tewksbury whostudies Cowbird parasitism. Josh and Ken examine the coping strategies of two host species (American Redstart and Yellow Warbler). Ken visits Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge with waterfowl researcher Alison Perkins. Ken explains the difference between altricial and precocial birds and sees several different species of birds, such as the Red-necked Grebe and the American Coot which are semi-precocial. Ken travels to Wildhorse Island with Wildlife Biologist Bill Swaney. They endure a strenuous hike in the pouring rain for a beautiful view of nesting Bald Eagles and their young. Bill explains the parenting behavior of the Bald Eagle.
Episode 104: ARIZONA HUMMINGBIRDS Ken Dial travels to Arizona to see one of the state’s star attractions: Hummingbirds. At the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Ken sees several different Hummingbirds, such as the Broad-billed, Allen’s and the Violet-crowned. See a garden that attracts hummingbirds. Ken learns about the nectar that fuels hummingbirds from researcher Peter Scott. Peter extracts nectar from different flowers and measures sugar content with a refractometer
Episode 105: ARIZONA DESERT BIRDS Ken Dial and renowned author Kenn Kaufman explore the desert at night wearing night vision equipment. They see a Great Horned Owl and Ken explains how Owls have remarkable night vision and acute hearing which enables them to locate their prey in the dark. As day breaks, Dial and Kaufman visit nesting Cactus Wrens, Curve-billed Thrashers, Roadrunners, and the Gila Woodpecker. Ken visits a sky-diving Hawk Researcher who shows him Harris’ Hawks nesting in a giant Saguaro cactus.
Episode 106: CALIFORNIA SEABIRDS Ken Dial visits California’s Monterey Bay. Ken takes a pelagic birding cruise. The unique submarine canyon of Monterey Bay brings the deep ocean with its nutrient rich waters close to shore. Among the pelagic birds they see are: the Common Murre, the Black-footed Albatross, the Sooty Shearwater and Sabine’s Gull. Ken takes a tour on Alcatraz Island with Ranger Daphne Hatch. Since the prison was closed in 1963, the island has become an important nesting site for Brandt’s Cormorants.
Episode 107: NEW JERSEY FALL MIGRATION Ken Dial travels to birding hotspot Cape May, New Jersey for fall migration. Cape May is a popular stopover for migrating birds to rest and refuel. With guide Megan Edwards, Ken sees several Osprey, various Warblers and Shorebirds. Ken joins Pete Dunne, Director of the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory, on a Hawk Watch. Thousands of Hawks travel over Cape May as they migrate. Ken adds a Palm Warbler to his Life List. Ken explains that a Life Bird is a bird that you haven’t seen before in your life and properly identified.
Episode 108: RARE BIRDS OF COSTA RICA Ken Dial travels to Costa Rica in Central America in search of some of the rare and elusive birds that live in its verdant jungles and forests. First Ken stops in the lush cloud forests of Monteverde, to find the Bare-necked Umbrellabird. The male Umbrellabird sports a red, inflatatble throat pouch and a gorgeous black “umbrella” of head feathers that he opens and closes to attract a mate. Ken’s next stop is the Talamanca Mountain Range, where he looks for the Resplendent Quetzal. A gorgeous, long-tailed, green bird with a bright red stomach and mohawk coiffure. Along the journey Ken spots other exotics like the Three-wattled Bellbird, the Keel-billed Toucan, the Collard Trogon, the Emerald Toucanet as well as many North American species of birds that winter in the tropics.
Episode 109: SONGBIRDS But for birds, and particularly songbirds, it’s critical to their very existence, to their survival. It allows them to attract mates, to obtain critical real estate. Ken Dial goes West to Montana and Idaho to explore the behavior, ecology and diversity of songbirds. First Ken tracks down the only aquatic songbird in the US, the American Dipper. This bird fishes for food in raging mountain rivers that a human can’t even walk through. Next, Ken joins Rex Sallabanks in Idaho to figure out who or what is destroying songbird nests. Finally, Ken joins Erick Greene of the University of Montana in a study of how the beautiful, blue Lazuli Bunting learns to sing.
Episode 110: ALASKA SPECIAL: GOLD RUSH Nome, Alaska is where birds still come here each spring and summer from all over the world to mate and raise their young. This is a tough land of high tundra, coastal cliffs and bare mountains. Locked in ice most of the year, it explodes with animal life for a few short months. Ken Dial goes to the ends of civilization to show us migratory birds at their best…long distance travelers that bring up baby in the buggiest spot on the continent. Ken finds the rare Bristle-thighed Curlew in the tundra, Golden Plovers near the coast, and a host of other Asiatic species that can only been seen in North America in Alaska during a very short window of time in the spring.
Episode 111: SECRETS OF THE FOREST Ken Dial explores three well-kept secrets of the forest. First he travels to the forests of Costa Rica in search of a few of the many hundreds of species of Hummingbirds that live there. We find out why a Hummingbird hums and sample some of the visual delights that they offer. Ken’s second stop is at the home of Alexander Skutch, the 93 year-old father of Costa Rican ornithology and Ken’s long-time mentor. Skutch, who wrote the definitive book on Costa Rican birds, is a pioneer in bird conservation. He opens his heart and home to Ken and shows off his favorite resident hummingbird species. Ken then visits the dark woods of Montana, home of the rare and elusive Great Gray Owl. Ken and ornithologist Jeff Marks find a Great Gray Owl nest with two nestlings. They observe the adults feeding their chicks in the wild. As they interact with the owls, Ken learns the secrets to their success as a species.
Episode 112: BIRD DETECTIVES How do we know about the hidden lives of birds? Ken joins some New England bird sleuths as they tease out secrets of the avian world. First Ken visits Bernd Heinrich who islooking at Raven insight. Ravens apparently learn about the world in ways similar to an infant. Rather than use trial and error to learn, they figure out the underlying physical principles at work and then use that knowledge to obtain their goal. Next Ken visits Squam Lake at night to investigate mysterious deaths in the Loon population. The last investigation of the show happens in Stowe, Vermont where scientists have discovered a new species, the Bicknell’s Thrush, and the philandering lifestyle of the female.
Episode 113: LOST ISLAND COLONIES Europeans weren’t the first or the only creatures to colonize the New World. Several species of birds beat them to it– transforming dozens of islands off the cost of Maine into bird colonies long before humans set foot on the continent. But in the last century, these avian colonies were lost, and the birds vanished. 22 miles from the mainland in the Gulf of Maine lies Seal Island. Seal Island has recently begun to restore its former poplations of Puffins, Storm Petrels, Terns, Black Guillemots, and Common Eiders. Ken meets Steve Kress and learns about the unique techniques Steve has developed to attract birds back to their former habitat. Ken and Steve go grubbing for Petrels, serve as decoys for Puffins and watch a dog fight or two over turf.
“Picture a mellow, laid-back version of Bill Nye. Now picture him a little older, a little wiser, and a little… bald. Voila! You’ve got Ken Dial, an Associate Professor of Zoology and Biology at the University of Montana, and a very cool, very funny science guy who loves his work, and can’t help but share the news…. Throughout, the camerawork in tracking these tiny birds is excellent, the onscreen species identification is extremely helpful, Dial is a superb host…. Highly recommended. Editor’s Choice. Four Stars.” – Video Librarian
“… this slightly offbeat ode to the joys of bird watching. Hosted by colorful ornithologist Ken Dial, this three-part birdwatching series surveys a wide range of birds in such far flung locales as Costa Rican jungles and Pacific Northwest forests… the informative series is sure to find a comfortable perch in public library collections where bird watching is popular.” -Booklist
“This peppy video is adapted from the All Bird TV series and hosted by Ken Dial, a biology professor at the University of Montana and an associate of Harvard’s Museum of Comparitive Zoology. Dial, in contrast to many saccharin, dull nature-show hosts, is expressive and entertaining, a bit of a wild man but also informed, interesting, and occasionally irreverent. The background music, another nonentity in many of these shows, is varied and delightful. The content is excellent: great photography with super action shots of the birds, accented by their clear vocalizations. Eminently sensible in limiting its subjects, Adventures in Birdwatching offers six segments that do not try to cover too much. There are in-depth looks at wading birds in Florida, spring landbirds in Massachusetts, predators in the Pacific Northwest, and hummingbirds in Arizona and several takes of tropical species in Costa Rica. Interspersed are lessons in ecology, behavior, breeding habits, feeding, and general biological principles. The viewer is also treated to looks at mammals, butterflies, plant life, and varied scenery, including onsite footage and interviews with field biologists at work. Highly recommended.” -Henry T. Armistead, Free Library of Philadelphia