Toward the end of the full-length documentary “Bird of Prey” about the quest to save the Great Philippine Eagle, a chick followed from birth to adulthood takes off for its first flight and slowly soars high above the jungle.
It’s a breathtaking scene that is the crescendo of Cornell Lab of Ornithology”s first feature film. To capture that shot took six months of trudging through the jungle, fighting off swarms of insects, avoiding poisonous snakes, shimmying up giant trees and waiting days on end for the key moments to unfold.
This is a remarkable creature, and its first flight drives that point home. It’s one of the largest Eagles on Earth, with a mop of feathers that frames its face and a wingspan of seven feet. But today just 400 pairs of the Great Philippine Eagle remain due to years of logging, poaching, careless development, and public indifference.
Here’s a trailer for the documentary: