Super Hummingbirds Fly Again on PBS Nature

A Chestnut-breasted Coronet Hummingbird sips nectar from a flower in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. From NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS on PBS. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

A Chestnut-breasted Coronet Hummingbird sips nectar from a flower in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. From NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS on PBS. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”–Aesop.

I love birds… and have loved them since I bonded with my chatty, cuddly (yes, cuddly!) little parakeet pal as a kid.  I also love gardening.

I weathered “pandemic isolation” by building a wildlife-friendly habitat in my backyard.  It’s amazing how much pleasure you can derive watching birds of various shapes, sizes and personalities feeding and nest building in your garden and jockeying for a cooling drink or a splash in an inviting birdbath. The list is endless: bullying Blue Jays, docile Doves, sweet-natured Robins, bonded Cardinals and loquacious Mockingbirds.  The daily show at their spa (my garden birdbath!) is a priceless lesson in interspecies conflict resolution, and the melodious summertime serenade that Mr. Mockingbird performs 24-hours-a-day sure beats the sound of silence during a pandemic shutdown.

Bird-watching was already on my radar four years ago when I previewed Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum’s 2016 documentary, Super Hummingbirds. The hour-long film, her second film featuring these dazzling, tiny creatures, returns tonight in a welcome rebroadcast on the Award-winning PBS series, Nature.

A production  of Coneflower Productions and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, Nature: Super Hummingbirds makes its return visit on PBS tonight, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET).  Check  local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region and below for streaming and DVD availability.

A Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbird guards his turf as another hungry hummer interloper tries to take a sip of precious nectar. From NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

A Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbird guards his turf as another hungry hummer interloper tries to take a sip of precious nectar. From NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

If you live in the Americas and have a flower garden or have passed through one at some point in your life, you’ve possibly met up with one or two hummers.  However, they move so fast and are so small (the world’s smallest birds!), chances are you were unaware of their presence.  That is unless you’ve mounted a specially designed hummer feeder outside your window.

Thanks to the marvels of high-speed photography, Super Hummingbirds literally brings us eye-to-eye with various colorful species of hummingbirds, a rare occurrence in everyday life. We are privy to their intimate mating, birthing, nest-building and parenting rituals, as well as their amazing aerial feats. They can fly backwards, upside down and hover in mid-air, with wing speeds of up to 80 times per second.

The film also introduces the work being done with hummingbirds by ornithologists, behavioral ecologists and evolutionary biologists based at such institutions as UC Berkeley, the University of New Mexico and Cornell.  Marvelous footage highlights hummingbird feeding studies conducted by Dr. Alejandro Rico-Guevara in  Colombia; the astounding hummer high altitude oxygen comparables tabulated in the Peruvian Andes by Dr. Christopher Witt; and the flashy hummer mating dances  filmed by Dr. Marcelo Araya-Salas in the Costa Rican rain forest.

 

Actress Patricia Clarkson narrates NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS on PBS. Photo courtesy Joseph Sinnott/©2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC.

Actress Patricia Clarkson narrates NATURE: SUPER HUMMINGBIRDS on PBS. Photo courtesy Joseph Sinnott/©2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC.

Fast, feisty and focused on fueling up at the nearest nectar-rich flower, hummingbirds may be small, but their high-energy lifestyle makes extraordinary demands on their tiny bodies. Hence, their waking, sleep and feeding cycles are unique to the species and quite remarkable. Significant pollinators (pollen sticks to their heads as they hover and draw nectar from flowers), hummingbirds are also noteworthy for their adaptability to new terrain, climates and altitudes.

Super Hummingbirds will introduce you to tiny, breathtakingly beautiful, ever-evolving creatures that defy categorization. Even if you’re not an avian aficionado, I encourage you to take a step outside your comfort zone and catch the rebroadcast of Nature: Super Hummingbirds on PBS tonight, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET).  Check local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region; http://www.pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app for streaming info; and http://ShopPBS.org for DVD and Blu-Ray availability.–Judith Trojan

About Judith Trojan

Judith Trojan is an Award-winning journalist who has written and edited several thousand film and TV reviews and celebrity profiles.
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5 Responses to Super Hummingbirds Fly Again on PBS Nature

  1. Jeanee Marie Layman says:

    Judith. Not sure what to comment here except that your blog is the first that I can’t stop reading! I love you and the choices you make! Best topics ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jeanee! Your response to my blog is such a wonderful affirmation of my work. Your support encourages me to continue to focus on my original goal with FrontRowCenter! I hope you will formally sign up to Follow my blog, so you’ll receive timely notifications of my posts! Once again, thank you so much!

      Like

  2. Ted Hicks says:

    Super hummingbirds! And narrated by Patricia Clarkson, what more could I ask. Will definitely record this if we don’t have a chance to watch it tonight. I know how much “My Octopus Teacher” taught me about octopuses, which I realized I’d know basically nothing about beforehand. So maybe now it’s time for hummingbirds. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce Michael says:

    I so look forward to seeing this. I love your poetic descriptions of the film as well as your garden. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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