First Flight
by Noriko & Don Carroll

Price at time of review: $19.95
Concept Images
Las Vegas, NV
ISBN: 9780615291185

Grade Level: K-12

Reviewed by Judy Kraus
Science Teacher, Hyde Park Middle School

Moving from New York to Las Vegas, Noriko and Don Carroll find that an unexpected guest has taken up residence on their porch. Rather than evicting the intruder, the pair documents the experience. In the DVD First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird’s Story, a hummingbird is followed as it constructs a nest of various materials and reinforces it with spider web pieces interwoven into its framework.

The producers name the black-chinned hummingbird Honey and photograph details of her life on the clothesline nest. Honey lays two eggs and cares for them. The painstaking work of sitting on the nest, eating, and protecting the eggs is meticulously documented. Finally, the chicks emerge.

The videographer's time lapse is beautiful! From newborn offspring, to full-feathered chicks, and finally to their first flight, the continuity of life is displayed. Viewers are taken into the world of the hummingbird and will easily forget their relatively small size (3 to 3.5 grams as adults) and the relatively small size of their nest (a mere 4 to 6 centimeters) with newborns the size of coffee beans! Accompanying music and delicate narration complement the hummingbird’s every action.

This video is an amazing artistic portrayal of the interdependence of species, as the hummingbird searches for food and nest construction material, as well as predator/prey relationships when insects, birds, and even a cat display interest in the hummingbirds. The closing interview with the Carrolls gives viewers some insight into the trials and tribulations of this three-year project and puts into perspective the efforts made to preserve the integrity of the hummingbirds’ environment. The DVD may be viewed in its entirety, or select scenes may be chosen to highlight anything from nest building to flight. It's an amazing video accomplishment. This product could support lessons in adaptations, life cycles, or food webs.

Review posted on 9/8/2009

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