The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
The Magic Box
A young girl takes on the Desmond Morris (or perhaps Johnny Morris) role for this enchanting film of a family birdwatching in their back garden.
From the collection of:
In the mid-sixties, before the days of Springwatch, an enterprising Wakefield family, the Brears, have set up their own birdwatch, making a bird box and filming the baby blue tits inside that have made it their home. With great patience they sit and observe the behaviour of one of Britain’s favourite garden birds.
Norma and Doug Brear FACI are members of the Wakefield Cine Club. They have made many films since they started filming in 1960, putting on film shows in both Wakefield and Bradford. The film was possibly inspired by the Granada TV series Zoo Time, or its rival, the popular BBC children's series Animal Magic, with Johnny Morris. Interestingly, the first known bird watcher using a telescope was a man from Wakefield, Charles Waterton, who created his wildlife Walton Hall Estate in the 1820s, and also created the first manmade nest boxes put up simply for encouraging local birds and observing them raise their young. Nest boxes now play an essential role for helping to repopulate areas with declining species.