Image for Poetry of motion

Poetry of motion

Duration: 03:57

Using an ultra slow-motion camera, Simon King spends time trying to get the perfect shot of a hunting osprey. At 20 times slower than natural speed, the bird seems to take on a whole new grace. Using this technology allows us to analyse the behaviour of the osprey, which is simply impossible at normal speed. As the bird flies down to the water, the feet begin to swing forward spreading directly in front of the osprey’s face. As he gets closer to the water, the wings move back, giving the osprey a torpedo shape, feet fully forward and face still pointing down to the water, locked on to his target. As he takes the plunge you can see on the image that for a moment he is completely underwater - a very dangerous time, as ospreys are not well waterproofed. It is essential that the next wing beat gets the bird out and above the water surface, but his feet are now locked on to a big fish. So not only is he trying to lift his own body weight, but he has the weight of the fish to lift out of the water as well, which may be as much as a third of his own body weight. He can only achieve this with large, deep wingbeats.

Available since: Wed 2 Jun 2010


Bill Oddie
Kate Humble
Simon King

This clip is from

Springwatch 2008, Episode 4

Tips on where to see wildlife for yourself and how to attract animals to your own garden.

First broadcast: 29 May 2008

Image for Episode 4 Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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