This is the miracle of flight as you’ve never seen it before: the evolutionary story of life on the wing.
A bird flits overhead. It’s an everyday occurrence, repeated hundreds, thousands, millions of times daily by creatures across the world. It’s something so normal, so entirely taken for granted, that sometimes we forget how extraordinary it is. But take that in for a moment. This animal flies. It. Flies. The miracle of flight has evolved in hugely diverse ways, with countless variations of flapping and gliding, hovering and diving, murmurating and migrating.
Conjuring lost worlds, ancient species and ever-shifting ecologies, this exhilarating talk is a mesmerising encounter with fourteen flying species: from the first fluttering insect of 300 million years ago to the crested pterosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, from hummingbirds that co-evolved with rainforest flowers to the wonders of dragonfly, albatross, pipistrelle and monarch butterfly with which we share the planet today.
Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. He is the author of Into the Tangled Bank, longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, Light Rains Sometimes Fall and Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? He lives in West London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.