The New Film Company's Nature Films

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DVD:  $24.95; VHS video: $19.95


"Easily one of the most beautiful films about birds ever made." Library Journal



Hard pesticides had threatened the extinction of our national bird until the Massachusetts Audubon Society and other conservation groups won the battle to ban their use in the United States. Fifteen years later, it was once again safe for eagles to nest in Massachusetts. One man conceived the dream and overcame every obstacle to bring the eagles back. HOME FREE tells his story.

Jack Swedberg became a wildlife photographer because he loved the woods, but his first unforgettable sight of an eagle was the beginning of a lifetime obsession which led far beyond photography. He thought it was possible to bring nesting eagles back to his state by finding young wild birds in remote areas, then raising and releasing them at the Quabbin Reservoir, a man-made wilderness created to protect Boston’s water supply. Birds brought here at just the right age would imprint on the area as home and eventually return to raise their own young.

HOME FREE follows Jack from construction of artificial nests atop a 40-foot tower to the high treetops in Manitoba where four eaglets are captured and flown to Quabbin. Their care and activities in the artificial nests are shown in detail, giving a beautiful close-up look at these regal birds which have always been a symbol of power and grace. Their release is an emotional moment, realizing Jack’s dream and pointing toward a new ethic for our relations with wild things.



Review: Library Journal

Easily one of the most beautiful films about birds ever made, this work documents photographer/naturalist Jack Swedberg's project to introduce bald eagles to the Quabbin Reservoir Preserve in western Massachusetts. He and his crew do this by "hacking" -- capturing and transferring the eaglets from Manitoba to Quabbin where the young birds are expected to imprint on their new location (never before attempted with eagles). Superb close-up photography of their capture, growth in artificial nesting towers, feeding habits, and release, aided by shots of sunrise over the Reservoir, the gentle humor of the Audubon Society team, and an inspiring score, offer a picture of this bird so intimate the viewer is likely to forget that the creatures don't understand their captors' words and intentions. When finally released, the birds' maiden voyage over their new home may make the most hard-nosed naturalist misty eyed.

Paul B. Wiener, State University of New York at Stony Brook Library

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Revised: November 29, 2018.