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Feathered Fantasy: A Birdwatcher’s Mecca cover image

Feathered Fantasy: A Birdwatcher’s Mecca 2003

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Chip Taylor Communications, 2 East View Drive, Derry, NH 03038-4812; 800-876-CHIP (2447)
Produced by Ferraro Nature Films, Inc.
Director n/a
VHS, color, 30 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Environmental Studies, ecology, Science, Travel and Tourism

Date Entered: 06/09/2004

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

South America is called the bird continent, and for good reason. 40% of 9,000 species of birds are found in South America. Southeast Venezuela is particularly known for its great variety of bird species and is home to several ecosystems. Some of the most unusual avian species can be round in this country. Endemic species live in the Tepuis (Tabletop Mountains), the Gran Sabana, the Sierra de Lema, and the Orinoco Amazonian rainforest. Considered the Mecca of birdwatchers, tourists come from around the world to see these spectacular birds. La Baranquilla de Fresa (translated means Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Inn), near the hamlet of Las Claritas, can house 18 tourists at one time, and provide them with gourmet food between bird watching outings. The video guide points out some of the spectacular birds as the camera travels from river, through rainforest, and up mountains. The Capuchin bird sounds like a chainsaw; the White and Bearded bellbirds could pass for a blacksmith. The noiseless, but beautifully colored Cotingas stay in the shadows. One of the more humorous moments is afforded by the Scarlet-Fronted Manakin, which dances backwards along a tree branch in order to attract a mate; when a potential mate arrives, he is so engrossed in his own dance that he ignores her! Trogons, toucans, finches, flycatchers, and more are featured in this breathtaking video. The most spectacular moments are the video coverage of a young Harpy Eagle, the most powerful eagle on the earth. Its striking appearance will remind viewers of Indian artwork, which must surely have represented the arresting face of this awesome bird. To the credit of Venezuela, deforesting is no longer going on, which was a threat to the eagle’s habitat. Nesting only every 3 years, it was critical to save their home in order to ensure their continued survival. The final footage pays homage to the ten species of hummingbirds that can be found in this region. Called the Hummingbirds’ Dance, remarkable footage gives a close-up view of these amazing “jewels” as they drink nectar in front of La Baranquilla de Fresa. Bird fanciers will be inclined to book a trip to this magical region as soon as possible. Other viewers will simply drink in the beauty and sights.

Spectacular camera work provides close-up visuals of the many birds that are featured in this video. Good music creates an appropriate backdrop to the narration. In one or two places the camera moves abruptly or isn’t able to capture a prolonged look at some birds, but that’s very minor considering the height and obscurity of tree branches where some of the species live. Highly recommended for public libraries, school libraries, and college libraries with ecology collections.