For the Birds 

International wildlife film festival screens in Boise

You might not imagine that Boiseans and the British have much in common, but in fact we do. We both love our birds, especially large, merciless raptors like eagles. Boise celebrates its favorite big bird during Bald Eagle Days, but you learn about wildlife around the world during the International Wildlife Film Festival at The Flicks. The two-day festival is one of many events associated with Bald Eagle Days, a locally sponsored educational festival celebrating wildlife near the Boise River. Films showcase creatures like the white-tailed eagle in England and other species of international flora and fauna. Here's the schedule:

Wednesday, January 25

4:30 p.m., children's matinee—The festival kicks off with a series of brief films to entertain your little ones with short attention spans. Ride of the Mergansers tells the story of a rare duck species whose ducklings must leap out of their nest high in the trees just 24 hours after hatching. Insect Defense highlights the methods of deception used by bugs and butterflies to avoid being lunch for predators. For a little local color, next you'll see Habitat and Niche, produced by the Idaho Fish and Game. The 11-minute flick explains the role of niches in nature using shots of Idaho wildlife. And if your little ones aren't begging to return home to their video games, stay for the Kratt brother's Orangutans, which highlights current threats to a rare species of Indonesian primate.

7 p.m., evening series—The late show lineup for Wednesday night might be appropriate for the bipolar in us all. Cry during Losing Tomorrow, a 30-minute chronicle of the devastation of the Indonesian rainforest. Regain your senses during the second showing of Habitat and Niche. Finally, end the night in good cheer by celebrating the return of the white-tailed eagle to Britain in Eagle Odyssey. The species was extinct along the Scottish coastline until 30 years of recovery attempts brought the bird back in full force.

Thursday, January 26

4:30 p.m., children's matinee—This double feature includes another Kratt Brother's film that highlights the maturation of Mexican free-tailed bats. The two adventurers brave their way through large accumulations of guano to observe baby bats, or "pinkies," as they're affectionately labeled. Next, watch Young and Wild and witness a variety of baby animals being born in a rainy ecosystem of South Africa.

7 p.m., evening series—Two features reveal very different landscapes and their residents in this double feature. Hokkaido: Garden of the Gods paints a picture of the northern Japanese island's unique volcanic, forested landscape and the brown bears, owls, eagles and other wildlife that live there. The film explains how the Ainu people have worshipped the natural features of Hokkaido for centuries and explores their relationship with the environment. Next, Mississippi River Rat explores the swamps and forests of the river through the lens of a local old-timer. Kenny Salwey has hunted and trapped on the banks of the Mississippi his whole life and his knowledge of the native species is evidenced through his fascinating stories.

Tickets for the International Wildlife Film Festival are $8 general and $6 for matinees, seniors and students. Proceeds benefit the Idaho Bird Observatory.

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