Archive for the ‘Bird Films’ Category

Charlotte Smith, “A Natural History of Birds” (1807)

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A Natural History of Birds

by Charlotte Smith

(1807)

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Zipporah

Zipporah (from the Hebrew צִפּוֹר or tzippor) means “bird” or “sparrow.” According to the book of Exodus, she was the wife of Moses. She is celebrated in American pop culture especially in the animated film, “The Prince of Egypt,” voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer.

“16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?”19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” 

Exodus 2:16-22

“After the Election” by Jane Beal

My brother was driving down the freeway
past hundreds of dark birds on a wire
singing for joy as the sun set:

he drove back, he stopped, and he
recorded what he was seeing and hearing,
and he sent the recording to me.

I felt that peace that comes when the Spirit
expands your heart:  and tears fell down my face
as the birds lifted into the air like angels

flying together toward heaven, free and beautiful
like women who have never been held captive,
whose wings imprint the sky.

Jane Beal
Uncaged (in progress)

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Perrin’s “Winged Migration”

 
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This afternoon, I’ve been watching Jacques Perrin’s “Winged Migration.” I love the close-ups of birds in flight. The music is beautiful.

The film, without commentary, shows a few, scattered glimpses of moments when human beings interfere with the life of birds: a tractor plowing up a grassy field in which a bird’s nest is hidden, a European factory where geese land and one is trapped in a puddle of oil and cannot fly away with its mates, a hunter shooting several birds and his dog running out to retrieve them. These moments are painful to watch.

But there is also a moment when a weary migratory bird lands on a ship at sea to rest before continuing north. At that moment, it feels as if humans can help more than they harm–something I have seen often in the midwest where many people are care-takers of birds all winter long.

Winged Migration Trailer