It’s all about behavior!
In my humble opinion the most exciting thing in wildlife filmmaking is witnessing and recording extraordinary behaviors that were not filmed before or perhaps weren’t even known for scientists! Our audience has seen enough from the animal kingdom, viewers are hard to surprise. Still we need to deliver something outstanding…
But besides this, honestly, I’m so excited myself too about filming such behaviors in the wild that I must admit often my fingers start to shake when pressing the Rec button in such situations! And I feel happy that we were lucky to film some amazing wildlife actions again for the Everglades film.Perhaps the most interesting is the story of the tool using alligators. I heard this from my colleague, Florida-based wildlife filmmaker Mark Emery with whom we spent quite a time at a rookery.
During nesting season there is a shortage of available nesting material and egrets take risk to pick them up from the water surface. It seems that alligators are aware of this and they position and balance sticks on their snout as bait. We filmed as gators catch birds this way, I guess we filmed it first time ever. I mentioned it to a scientist, Vladimir Dinets who has seen this in other places too. He went more into the subject and came out with an article.
Another behavior was one of my dream shots too, to capture alligator and manatee interaction – underwater. After all they share the same habitat during winter (warm springs) so there must be some kind of encounter. And indeed there was! But finally this clip didn’t make it into the film, so I insert it here:
Just like the iguana story. Iguanas are invasive species in Florida and thought to be vegetarians. But a biologist, Chad Anderson caught on remote camera as an iguana is eating from a carcass together with vultures! Well, I couldn’t resist trying to film this and after spending some days in a hide we were lucky to see this, though only for some minutes, but we got it!
And another behavior was even weirder. While filming a heron hunting for crabs all of a sudden a deer showed up and ate the leftover clearly with a nice pleased face. What?! Crab eating deer? Yes. And it’s in the film!