Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads

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#SteveReviews: Dancing with the Birds

Netflix has taken a plunge into wildlife film making in recent times. Last year we had the moving Our Planet narrated by Sir David Attenborough but 2019 also gave us Dancing with the Birds (which is also produced by the same team). The run time is less than an hour but within that time there is an array of amazing cinematography that we’ve all come to love in nature documentaries and upbeat narration from Stephen Fry. I’m now convinced more documentaries should be narrated by Stephen Fry, his voice is already so familiar to us that it’s the ideal role!

So what is the documentary all about I hear you ask? Well it focusses on the mating dances and rituals of a number of bird species such as the Birds of Paradise and allied species. Things are very positive with no mention of the threats facing birds such as habitat loss and over-exploitation etc. Instead we find a celebration of the ingenious and visually stunning avian mating displays that have evolved around the world. It provides a non-technical overview that everyone can enjoy but due to it’s nature there are a few innuendos that are sure to put a smile on the face of anyone watching.

Yes the commentary is anthropomorphic and the music can be distracting at times but in these dark times it is just the medicine we need to feel enthused about the natural world again. Just seeing how much effort the males of certain species go to attract a mate, just to get turned down is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It highlights the power of sexual selection although this isn’t really something the documentary explores too much – maybe a topic for a follow up?

The trailer is below, hopefully it helps to encourage you to go and give the series a watch!

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