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Refuge film follows world’s rarest eagle

By Staff | Feb 11, 2021

Stunning cinematography tells the tale of the critically endangered Philippine eagle in “Bird of Prey.” PHOTO PROVIDED

The ninth annual “Ding” Darling Film Series continues on Feb. 17 with “Bird of Prey,” a 94-minute documentary that takes viewers on a journey upon the wings of the world’s rarest eagle, the Philippine eagle. This year’s series has adapted to distancing and pandemic safety protocols with virtual airings and follow-up discussions via Zoom.

Unlike the other films, this one is only available to be streamed on Feb. 17 from 2 to 5 p.m., with the discussion scheduled for 5 p.m. Pre-registration for the film and discussion are required; visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series for links. Those who register for the film will receive an email a day before the showing that contains the streaming link and password, along with a link to the discussion.

In “Bird of Prey,” world-renowned wildlife cinematographer Neil Rettig embarks on the challenging assignment to film the rare and majestic bird. Woven with stunning cinematography, the award-winning documentary from Cornell Lab of Ornithology soars to the heights of the vanishing species while telling the tale of an inspiring group of people determined to save the species from extinction.

A multiple film festival selection and winner, the documentary explores the Philippine eagle’s critical endangerment, caused by habitat loss and human persecution, yet leaves the viewer with hope for the future of the species, whose population is now estimated at fewer than 1,000.

Bailey’s General Store wine steward Calli Johnson has recommended a wine pairing of Uncaged Red Blend, produced by the namesake singer of the Zac Brown Band, to enjoy with the post discussion.

“The label features a barn owl, another bird of prey that struggles with some of the same challenges as the great Philippine eagle,” she said.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge hosts the free film showings with sponsorship from Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. The season’s remaining schedule is as follows:

• March 8: “A Sense of Wonder”

• April 12: “Just Eat It”

Discussions that will follow each film allow visitors to gain more from their documentary-viewing experience by listening to other people’s points of view and analyzing what they just watched.

For more information, visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.