Growing up in wooded, rural Southeastern Michigan, nature was all around me. Birds, deer, foxes, squirrels, the occasional coyote - all made their presence known a time or two. One creature I frequently heard but rarely actually saw was the owl. We had numerous species of owls living in our area, but unless you heard them on a moonlit night, you almost never knew they were there. 'PBS Nature Owl Power' is a fascinating look into the lifecycle and makeup of these incredible creatures.
'PBS Nature Owl Power' starts at the very beginning, the birth of two owl chicks, Luna and Lilly on a bird sanctuary in England. Right out of the gate you're hit with the incredible factoid that it can take up to 48 hours for an owl chick to peck its way out of an egg! Once the chicks are hatched, they require round the clock care and attention. While they look like something out of 'The Dark Crystal,' these little birds are actually quite adorable.
The nature special then breaks away to fascinating thermal camera footage of owls hunting at night prying on rabbits and other many small mammals. As the owls hunt in pairs, when one has made the kill, the mother owl will take the catch to feed their young. Since owls are for the most part nocturnal, they are the only birds of prey hunting at night giving them free range of the sky to hunt.
The footage for 'PBS Nature Owl Power' is impressive to say the least. Owls are elusive creatures, so the camera work is near perfect here, making great use of the latest technology to capture some amazing footage. We watch the baby owls grow as we learn more about their development including their eyesight and hearing - which is developed and tuned while they're still in the egg!
To say 'PBS Nature Owl Power' is fascinating would be a bit of an understatement. While it blew my socks off, I will say that it is rather short, coming in at just 53 minutes. This could easily have been a multipart series on its own, as there is just that much information to take in and process. If the one grip I have against this set that it's short, then there really isn't that much to knock it for, after all if you've never seen an owl eat a mouse whole, then you're in for a treat.
As with a number of nature specials, one may be curious about age appropriateness. If you have little ones that after having seen 'Harry Potter' or love nature and want to know more about owls, 'Owl Power' should be fine. There aren't any shots of animals suffering or anything of the like. Yes you see owls pick off ground prey and eat, but the shots aren't gratuitous. In fact, kids may love seeing baby owlets Luna and Lilly grow from little chicks to full grown adult owls. It's material the entire family can enjoy.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'PBS Nature Owl Power' arrives on Blu-ray thanks to PBS on a BD25 Disc. Housed in a standard Blu-ray case, the disc opens to a generic main menu that features exciting nature footage from a compilation of PBS specials and not just 'Owl Power.'
As with many PBS nature programs, 'Owl Power' is a stunner, even with it's 1080i resolution. Detail is amazingly crips and clear and offers a vast array of signature shots of owls at flight in slow motion. Colors are bright and vibrant offering for a pleasingly realistic image. Black levels and shadows are given a fine work out as there are numerous shots of the creatures hunting at night. Some of these shots can look a bit bright, but that is probably more likely due to photography techniques than any kind of contrast issues. Also since this is a nature doc, it is cobbled together from multiple video sources btu for the most part all of the elements here are in fantastic shape.
Given that sound is an essential element for owls, it shouldn't be any wonder that 'PBS Nature Owl Power' sports a fantastic Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dominated by narration, 'Owl Power' has a wide sound range that lets your surround system make great use of the elements - even if you may not be able to hear exactly everything. During a scientific experiment to record the sound of owl flight, silence never sounded so amazing. Sound for the most part sticks to the center channels but when it moves about, it creates a great sense of imaging and clarity. A wonderful companion piece to this particular nature program.
No extra features are present.
'PBS Nature Owl Power' is fascinating. There's a lot of information to take in and appreciate with this show, so repeat viewings are worth the time. It's also nice to see a nature documentary that doesn't make you feel like you need to fast forward through the hunting scenes if you have little ones in the room. While its runtime may be short and there aren't any extra features, 'PBS Nature Owl Power' is a great watch and worth viewing if not adding to your collection. I've got more than a few family members who'll want to see this and I'll gladly watch it over again.