Greetings, Money Saving Parents! This is entry #5 in my Countdown to Earth Day series, a review of Disney Nature’s The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingo. I plan to review different Disney Nature films throughout the week and encourage families to watch each of these highly educational documentaries as they celebrate the planet on which we live and its many wonders. This post may contain affiliate links which are used to support this site and my family. However all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Enjoy!
Among bird species, one that many people find intriguing is the flamingo. Flocking together in colonies numbering in the thousands, standing on one leg, and displaying unusual behavior, the flamingo is a bird like no other. Disneynature pays tribute to this pink- colored bird species in its 2010 documentary Disneynature: Crimson Wing – The Mystery of the Flamingo, an educational film narrated by Mariella Frostrup.
A mysterious and highly saline lake known as Lake Natron is the breeding ground for thousands of flamingos and Crimson Wing begins its educational lesson by showing the flamingos in the air, making their way to this phenomenal Tanzanian lake. Flamingos migrate to Lake Natron for breeding and, like clockwork, they arrive each year to seek out a mate, lay eggs, raise their young, and then return to their native land.
Once hatched from the egg, young flamingo chicks take their first steps, eat their first food, and learn their first lessons on survival from parents. Then, it’s off on a wild journey across Lake Natron, over the salty formations, into cooler waters, and ultimately to the lake’s edge and surrounding areas where they grow and mature.
Flamingos and Behavior
Crimson Wing is all about baby flamingos, their parents, and the unusual way they live and behave in this harsh African terrain. The documentary educates viewers on Lake Natron and the geography around it, then proceeds to focus on the tens of thousands of flamingos that flock to this lake each year for mating purposes.
Flamingos exhibit peculiar behavior and much of it is captured in the footage of Crimson Wing. The film lets viewers observe flamingos up close and exposes some of the mysteries of their behavior. Why do flamingos choose this particular lake for annual migration? Why do their young behave the way they do? How do they know when to leave the lake each year? Crimson Wing attempts to answer these questions, but there are many things about flamingos and their behavior that remain unanswered and are still unknown.
Educational by Nature
Crimson Wing is an educational documentary from start to finish. Striving to teach the viewer all it can about these unusual birds and the even more unusual African lake where they migrate and breed, Crimson Wing wants viewers to come away from the experience knowing a little more about flamingos and, hopefully, curious enough to study and learn even more on their own.
I had never heard of Lake Natron or the migrating patterns of African flamingos until I watched Crimson Wing so the documentary was certainly a learning experience for me. I have seen flamingos, of course, and I was familiar with their migrating habits. But I knew nothing at all about this fascinating lake in Tanzania and its role in the migration process. Everyone’s experience will be different, but I found the lake and geography more interesting than the flamingos. The high level of salt in the lake, the colorful formations, the surrounding mountains and volcanoes, and other aspects of the natural elements in this documentary are every bit as interesting as the wildlife and will keep viewers asking questions.
Crimson Wing – The Mystery of the Flamingo is a serious, educational film that is like watching a PBS documentary. The film is about 77 minutes in length and includes longer than average stretches without any narration. During these moments, you may see nothing but a sea of pink flamingos or brown flamingo chicks socializing, walking around the salt flats, and otherwise passing time while they wait for the next phase of their lives and the long flight back home. Orchestra music and other mild sound effects play in the background, providing a more soothing mood.
Crimson Wing is a good family documentary and young children will love watching the baby flamingos hatching from their eggs, taking their first steps, and maturing with thousands upon thousands of other flamingo chicks and their parents. There is no humor in this documentary and its tone is serious, so very young children may grow bored. But if you have any young biologists in the making, then Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingo is certain to be a big hit in your home. Pollution and development threaten the lake and continue to concern conservationists, but as long humans can be kept in check, the flamingos will continue to migrate to Lake Natron each year and the cycle of life will carry on. Watch Crimson Wing and learn more about flamingos and the mystery that surrounds them.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey