Acclaimed documentary on geese migration?

There was a very well received documentary not long ago where they attached cameras to geese (I believe) and the film followed the migration of the birds. Apparently some really spectacular scenes, great reviews.

Anyone recall the name of this movie?

Winged Migration, I believe.

Winged Migration and it’s excellent. Not as good as Microcosmos though - but that’s because bugs are cooler than birds. It’s a lot more than geese btw.

I don’t think they attach the cameras to the birds. I think most of the footage, which is incredible, comes from cameras in ultralights.

I really liked the film, but I left feeling somewhat cheated. I don’t want to spoil it, but it really is stretching the definition of “documentary” (seems to be a lot of that going around) if you ask me. Watch the dvd, and the special features about how it was made (including the commentary), and I think you’ll see what I mean.

It’s definitely worth watching, in any case.

“Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky…”


They did in fact stage a few sequences in the film, nor do they really let on to that in the film itself, so one might indeed feel “cheated” at certain points afterwards, when reading about it or listening to the bonus DVD commentary. On the other hand, we’re talking about birds here, not Farenheit 9/11–and it’s not like they’re using CGI birds either. So 99.9 percent of the movie is absolutely unbelievable footage of real birds really migrating–and all the close up shots of them flying are gorgeous, and make you realize that

a) flying looks like it takes a LOT of work and must be totally exhausting
b) it would nevertheless be the coolest thing ever.

Great movie.

I think in the extra commentary the director even said it was not a documentary, but rather a nature story.

I had heard that there were no special effects during the making of this film…I yelled bullshit! out loud in the first flight scene. I was wrong to say that. The making of featurette was as fascinating as the actual film.

Great stuff all around.

Thanks, I’ll pick it up. What got me interested was the area we now live in has thousands of geese - they’re big into having ponds and lakes everywhere, including in shopping and business zones, and the geese love it. While it was cool watching them raise their young, I find myself sitting outside in the afternoon and watching them leave the water and then, by the score, they form up into the traditional V formations and fly around, as if they are practicing. It’s simply awesome to see little groups of 2 or 3 naturally merge into a large V formation, each goose knowing his or her place, everything orchestrated in a way that makes you smile or shake your head in amazement. We keep waiting to see when they will decide to rise up, form up, and then decide it’s finally time to leave for the south.

Yeah, I’d highly recommend Winged Migration as well. It’s a phenomenal film (and I’m bummed that I never got to see it in a theater, because it’s visually spectacular). I have no problem with the scenes that they staged. They did it in order to show the audience things that would otherwise be problematic to capture, and it’s not like they try to hide it or anything. There’s a really good “making of” extra (a documentary on a documentary?) on the DVD that shows how those scenes were done, and it’s almost as much fun to watch as the actual movie.

Agreed on how great the making of featurette is. I considered getting the dvd for my father just for the cool stuff about ultralights. He loves those things.

small spoiler alert, although now that you guys have let the bird out of the bag for the most part, not really

As for the staged stuff, I was under the impression that “the scenes they staged” pretty much accounts for a large percentage of the film. Mind you, that stuff is pretty effing cool, the whole process they went through, raising the birds and bonding with them. I just thought that as cool as it was, it made it so it wasn’t the film I had thought I was watching. (I put a spoiler alert up there because watching it through without knowing how in the world they captured the footage was one of the great pleasures of watching the film. Which is why I was being a bit coy in the last post.)

Still not a big enough deal to miss the film, just enough to make me question its Oscar nomination.

“Oh pointy birds, o pointy pointy,
Anoint my head–”


“… anointy-nointy”

Microcosmos is still better. You guys have seen that haven’t you? There’s this scene where a Dung Beetle rolls his dung ball onto a sharp pointy stick and spends an agonizing 2-3 minutes trying to figure out how to solve this problem. When he does, you feel like cheering. That and the rainstorm are amazing film-making. Brilliant for kids.