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WildFilmHistory » Home » Films » Secrets of Nature: The Cuckoo's Secret

Secrets of Nature: The Cuckoo's Secret  (1922)

The usurper demands to be fed

An absorbing exploration of this song bird's reproductive habits, The Cuckoo's Secret was the first film in Secrets of Nature, an innovative set of single reeled educational films released by British Instructional Films (BIF).

Produced by passionate research ornithologist, Edgar Chance, the film takes advantage of his long study in this area, providing an informative and incredibly intriguing account of cuckoo behaviour. Changing the public's perception of how cuckoos reproduce, remarkable photography from Edward Hawkins records these well-known harbingers of spring as they lay their eggs directly in the nests of other birds.

The success of The Cuckoo's Secret paved the way for future Secrets of Nature series, and over the next eleven years BIF produced numerous thorough and academic documentaries. Described by filmmaker, historian and critic Paul Rotha in 1930 as "the sheet anchor of the British film industry", the collection went on to celebrate many aspects of Britain's beautiful natural history.

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: British Film Institute (BFI)

Film credits

Film Cameraman: Edward Hawkins
Film Cameraman: Commercial and Educational Film Co.
Producer: Edgar Chance
Production Organisation: The Regent Film Company Limited
Production Organisation: British Instructional Films Limited

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The usurper demands to be fed
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The act of laying
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