The Best Episodes of Nature
Last Updated: Jan 28, 2019
Nature is a wildlife documentary program that has been airing on PBS since 1982. Its longevity is explained partly by its quality; Nature has won numerous Emmy awards. Documentaries have explored a multitude of different animals, plants, and other aspects of the natural world.
#1 - The Queen of Trees
Season 24 - Episode 11
Patricia Clarkson narrates this look at the relationship between the sycamore fig tree and the tiny fig wasp, which is so small it could fly through the eye of a needle. The trees, which flourish in Kenya, produce fruit that provides nourishment to more wildlife than any other tree in Africa, but without the pollination the wasp provides, that might not occur. The documentary also examines other creatures that make the trees their homes, including gray hornbills (one of Africa's largest birds).
#2 - The Flight of the Condor: Ice, Wind, and Fire (1)
Season 1 - Episode 1
Following the path of the condor, whose ten-foot wingspan enables it to soar effortlessly over the peaks of the Andes mountains, this film starts at the storm beaten rocks of Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America and journeys north to the highest peak in the Americas - Aconcagua. Along the way, we see exotic animals and birds such as the penguin, hummingbird, sea otter, guanaco, ostrich-like rhea, and puma.
#3 - The Flight of the Condor: Down the Amazon (3)
Season 1 - Episode 3
The third part of the series is a spectacular visual trip down the fabled river. From the snow-clad summit of the volcano Cotopaxi and others comes the greatest river in the world as melting ice creates a torrent that drops three miles in its first short distance. The river is fed by magnificent waterfalls and is channeled through gorges out into the tropical rain forest where there are more species of birds than anywhere.
#4 - My Life as a Turkey
Season 30 - Episode 4
After a local farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto's front porch, his life was forever changed. Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother. Deep in the wilds of Florida's Flatlands, Hutto spent each day living as a turkey mother, taking on the full-time job of raising sixteen turkey chicks. Hutto dutifully cared for his family around the clock, roosting with them, taking them foraging, and immersing himself in their world. In the process, they revealed their charming curiosity and surprising intellect. There was little he could teach them that they did not already know, but he showed them the lay of the land and protected them from the dangers of the forest as best he could. In return, they taught him how to see the world through their eyes. Based on his true story, My Life as a Turkey chronicles Hutto's remarkable and moving experience of raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood.
#5 - The Cheetah Orphans
Season 26 - Episode 3
Documentarian Simon King raises two orphaned cheetah cubs in Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. He's seen bottle-feeding them and---to prepare them for the wild--- teaching the pair to hunt. King narrates.
#6 - A Murder of Crows
Season 29 - Episode 3
Although cultures around the world may regard the crow as a scavenger, bad omen, or simply a nuisance, this bad reputation might overshadow what could be regarded as the crow’s most striking characteristic – its intelligence. New research indicates that crows are among the brightest animals in the world. NATURE’s A Murder of Crows brings you these so-called feathered apes, as you have never seen them before.
#7 - Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story
Season 29 - Episode 7
2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Born Free” – a book and then a film that changed forever the way we think about wildlife. What has happened to lions since this story? What has happened to the people featured in the film? And what has “Born Free” taught us?
#8 - Attenborough's Life Stories: Part One - Life on Camera
Season 31 - Episode 5
Attenborough revisits key places and events in his career and shows how a succession of technical innovations in filmmaking led to remarkable revelations about our planet and the creatures that inhabit it.
#9 - Legendary White Stallions
Season 31 - Episode 11
The striking white Lipizzaner stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School in Vienna have been thrilling audiences for centuries. During the winter public performance season, the horses execute breathtaking displays of carefully choreographed and synchronized movements known as high classical dressage. The riding school’s success relies on the strong bonds the animals establish with their riders during years of training; Lipizzaner stallions go through a minimum of six years of practice and preparation before performing publicly. Legendary White Stallions explores how Lipizzaners have developed from horses bred for war in the rugged Atlas Mountains of North Africa into living works of art capturing the hearts of millions in a world-famous court of kings.
#10 - The Funkiest Monkeys
Season 32 - Episode 5
There is an unusual looking monkey called the crested black macaque that is endemic to rainforests in Indonesia, which includes the island of Sulawesi. These striking black primates, sporting punk hairstyles and copper-colored eyes, first caught the attention and won the heart of wildlife cameraman and biologist Colin Stafford-Johnson 25 years ago. But since then, their numbers have dropped by almost 90 percent, so the filmmaker returns to the island to discover why and how he could help.
#11 - River of No Return
Season 30 - Episode 11
Central Idaho's Frank Church--River of No Return Wilderness is the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48 States. Endless rugged mountains, wild rivers, forests and deep canyons define this land--home to numerous species of wildlife, including wolves, who have just returned after 50 years of near absence. A young couple, Isaac and Bjornen Babcock, chose this wilderness for their year-long honeymoon. But what begins as a romantic adventure becomes something much greater for the couple--and a tale of hope and celebration for every life trying to make it in the unforgiving heart of the wilderness.
#12 - Equus: Story of the Horse - Part 1
Season 37 - Episode 8
The relationship between man and his noble steed is almost as old as civilization itself, allowing our species to explore, conquer and flourish side by side with the horse. Nature traces this revolutionizing partnership with anthropologist Niobe Thompson, who treks around the world in search of the moment when man first climbed into the saddle and explains how the relationship between humans and horses has evolved in today’s modern world. Discover the habits of these majestic animals and their unique biological makeup, which made them a perfect fit for our ancestors. Ride along with the world’s last nomadic tribes, who view the horse not just as an animal, but a means of survival. Witness the return of horses to the wild as mankind preserves the hardest-working animal partners we’ve ever had. Locations in this two-part series include Mongolia, Montana, Kentucky, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Siberia, and Sable Island, Nova Scotia.
#13 - Clash: Encounters of Bears and Wolves
Season 28 - Episode 6
The wilds of Yellowstone National Park are a world of predators, scavengers and opportunists. In this vast and complex kingdom, two dominant predators reign supreme: the grizzly bear and the wolf. Size and power square off against speed and teamwork, as mighty grizzly bears contend with powerful packs of wolves for control of the food supply. Though these two fearsome hunters would normally rule their ranges uncontested, in Yellowstone they must share resources, or face starvation.
#14 - Invasion of the Giant Pythons
Season 28 - Episode 8
The Everglades’ watery oasis has been invaded by giants. As part of an ever popular international pet trade market, and incidentally along paths of human travel, many exotic animals have been removed from their native lands and landed where they are not necessarily welcome arrivals. Among these invasive species are a growing number of Burmese pythons, which have taken up residence in the wetlands of Florida, courtesy of overwhelmed pet owners and hurricane-hit animal warehouses.
#15 - Fabulous Frogs
Season 32 - Episode 13
Sir David Attenborough hosts an exploration of the weird and wonderful world of frogs. Firsthand stories, the latest science and cutting-edge technology are used to demonstrate the wide variety of frog anatomy, appearance and behavior.
#16 - Love in the Animal Kingdom
Season 32 - Episode 2
Examining the ways animals attract mates. Included: the feminine wiles of a young gorilla; the search for a partner among a thousand flamingos; the "open" relationships of blue-footed boobies; and the soap opera-like entanglements of gibbons.
#17 - Natural Born Hustlers: The Hunger Hustle
Season 34 - Episode 8
Animals adapt their bodies or behavior to secure their next meal.
#18 - Yosemite
Season 35 - Episode 12
Yosemite Valley is a land forged in wildfire and sculpted by water; the delicate balance of these two elements is essential to the creatures and trees that call this land home. But with climates changing and temperatures rising, the Sierras are under siege. Scientists, experts and adventurers head into Yosemite to see how these global changes are affecting one of America’s greatest wildernesses.
#19 - Animal Odd Couples
Season 31 - Episode 3
Are animals capable of feeling complex emotions? Recent observations of unexpected cross-species relationships in zoos and animal sanctuaries around the world may provide some answers. Endearing interactions between a cheetah and a retriever, a lion and a coyote, a dog and a deer, a goat and a horse, and even a tortoise and a goose offer captivating glimpses of supportive connections in the animal world. Each interspecies pair challenges the conventional wisdom that humans are the only species capable of feeling compassion and forming long-lasting friendships. Animal behavior experts weigh in with their opinions, and animal caretakers share their personal experiences with cross-species relationships in this compelling tale of unlikely animal couples.
#20 - Animal Reunions
Season 34 - Episode 13
Reunions between wild animals and their caregivers reveal whether interspecies bonds can stand the test of time.
#21 - An Original DUCKumentary
Season 31 - Episode 4
Ducks are ancient creatures. True originals, ducks practice habitual lifestyles that have been essential to their evolutionary success for millions of years. There are more than 120 different species of ducks—many with delightful names like “Buffleheads,” “Shovelers,” and “Woodies” that embody their charming personalities and curious mannerisms. Despite the glorious display of their iridescent feathers, these webbed-footed waterfowl maintain a reputation for being clumsy and awkward. But in reality they are surprisingly athletic birds; some have been clocked flying almost 100 mph, allowing them to outpace eagles and hawks. Ducks have an uncanny knack for survival, and their exuberant behavior never ceases to entertain. Take to the skies with a flock of green-winged Teal. Watch Wood ducks raise a family. Learn why Goldeneyes head north in the winter. Each bird is unique, full of surprises, and will leave you eager to learn more.
#22 - Snow Chick
Season 34 - Episode 12
The journey of an emperor penguin chick, from its emergence from the egg to its independence.
#23 - Pets: Wild At Heart: Secretive Creatures
Season 34 - Episode 6
Moving x-rays, ultraviolet light and doggycams show how pets experience their world through hidden channels of communication.
#24 - Nature's Miniature Miracles
Season 36 - Episode 6
Uncover nature's biggest little secrets from mini nocturnal monkeys to sand-sculpting puffer fish.
#25 - Leave It to Beavers
Season 32 - Episode 11
A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages. Once valued for their fur or hunted as pests, these industrious rodents are seen in a new light through the eyes of this novel assembly of beaver enthusiasts and “employers” who reveal the ways in which the presence of beavers can transform and revive landscapes. Using their skills as natural builders and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.