The above YouTube video (6 minutes) includes film excerpts from the movie “Fly Away Home” (1996) with song over by Mary Chapin Carter.
Fly Away Home is a 1996 family drama film released on September 13, 1996. It dramatizes the actual experiences of Bill Lishman who, in 1986, started training geese to follow his ultralight and succeeded in leading their migration in 1993.
In the film there is a subtle overlay of the lost young girl finding a new life pattern. This theme reflects and resonates with the story of the young geese who are also lost until a guiding love unties girl and geese. That bond radiates to include a wider family and friends and ultimately inspires thousands along their migratory journey and eventually millions around the world.
The movie is loosely based on Lishman’s early work, including his book Father Goose, published in 1995. Lishman’s ideas are also credited as an inspiration for the French film Winged Migration.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lishman openly wondered if waterfowl could be taught new migration patterns by following low-speed ultralight aircraft. In 1993, after several years of logistical and bureaucratic setbacks, Lishman successfully led a flock of Canada geese on a winter migration from Ontario, Canada to northern Virginia. Of the sixteen birds that participated in the migration, thirteen returned to Ontario the following year – entirely on their own.
Following the successful experiment with Canada geese, the team turned their efforts to rare and endangered species.
For Bill Lishman’s work with migrating birds see: www.operationmigration.org
Below is the 2-minute trailer of Fly Away Home: