In January 2012, the Illustra Media production team first considered producing a documentary about the wonders of avian flight.   It didn’t take long to “green light” the project.

The subject matter was attractive for several reasons.  First, birds are highly photogenic.  To see them in the air is breathtaking.  And with new high-speed video technology, dramatic slow motion footage (that would capture the power and grace of an eagle, or the frenetic energy of a hummingbird­­) was more accessible than ever before.

Flying birds also hold universal appeal.  The fascination they evoke transcends age or nationality. At one time or another almost everyone has looked up at a gull or hawk on the wing and asked, “how”?

And, there was another factor that inspired us to produce this film:  The biology and behaviors of flying birds offer some of the most compelling evidence for supernatural intelligence, design, and purpose to be found anywhere in nature.

In order for a vulture to soar on a thermal updraft, or an Arctic tern to hover a few feet over the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of complex biological mechanisms and systems must work together in perfect orchestration.  A flying bird needs bones that are light weight, but strong and durable; feathers that create a waterproof, aerodynamic shape; an internal gyroscope that stabilizes its head and body in the air; the most efficient respiratory and digestive systems in the animal kingdom--and much more.

Regardless of its species, every bird is the product of a cause that is able to visualize a distant functional endpoint and then bring together everything necessary to achieve that endpoint.  Uniquely, in our experience, only intelligence is capable of that kind of causal process.

Birds are both engineering marvels and works of art.  We know where engineered objects come from.  We know where works of art come from.  Why would we attribute a bird to anything other than intelligence or mind?

Flight:  The Genius of Birds took more than a year to produce.  Eleven cinematographers filmed on three continents to capture footage that offers glimpses of the spectacular beauty and design inherent in every one of the more than 9000 species of birds that inhabit the Earth.

The film is highlighted by computer animation that reveals the remarkable inner workings of avian anatomy, and an original musical score.

FLIGHT is available in DVD and Blu-ray.  Both formats include STEREO and 5.1 Surround audio.

Production Credits

Lad Allen

Edited by
Jerry Harned

Cinematography by
Dennis Burkhart
Jerry Harned
Wayne Lafae
Dylan Winter
Adam Giles
Ulrik Bang
Carsten Egevang
Craig Segebarth
Ian Segebarth
Thomas C. Emmel
Tim Eaton

Written by
W. Peter Allen

Associate Producers
Paul Nelson
Timothy Standish

Animation by
Joseph Condeelis
William “Billy” Lee

Original Music by
Mark Edward Lewis

Narrated by
Alvin Chea