6 More Nature Documentaries to Stream Tonight

The pandemic is forcing us to find creative ways to stay connected to nature: starting a backyard bird yard list, nature journaling, curling up with a good book, and even watching fish (yes, fish).

But at the end of a long, stressful day, nothing beats a good nature documentary. 

Last year, we rounded up the best nature documentaries for you to binge-watch during lockdown. Since you’ve probably finished those, here are six more documentaries to help you unwind, disconnect, and bring a little nature into your life. 

(Note: Most of these films are available on popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, iTunes, or Amazon. Exactly which service depends on your location.)

  • Dancing With The Birds

    2019 | Netflix

    There’s no shortage of dance moves in the bird world: they shimmy, they shake, they bob and they wiggle. Some gyrate like demented matadors, others mimic chainsaws and children. But they’re all fabulous. 

    Brought to you by the same team that produced Our Planet, Dancing With The Birds showcases some of the strangest bird courtship rituals from around the world, with a special focus on New Guinea’s birds of paradise. Narrated by the wry and wonderful Stephen Fry, this documentary will leave you smiling after a long day.

  • My Octopus Teacher

    2020 | Netflix

    In the wake of a breakdown, South African filmmaker Craig Foster turns to daily swims in the freezing ocean to help cope. He encounters a curious common octopus, and over the course of several months the two form an unlikely bond. Foster becomes ever-more obsessed with the cephalopod’s world, mapping her entire ecosystem in an effort to locate her den and watching as she fends off predatory sharks. 

    Skeptics in the audience might raise an eyebrow at the idea of ‘friendship’ with an octopus. But Foster doesn’t anthropomorphize, he merely gives the octopus the respect she is due as an intelligent, interesting creature. Along the way, we learn how their relationship changes Foster’s perspective on life and pulls him back from despair. The resulting film is deeply personal and well-worth the hype.

  • A Life On Our Planet

    2020 | Netflix

    David Attenborough is a nature documentary demigod — the man could narrate drying paint and I’d still be on the edge of my seat. Yet he’s become so ubiquitous that we forget the value of his perspective. Attenborough is 93 years old and has spent the majority of those years traveling the world and witnessing its wonders. Few people alive have seen the same depth and breadth of nature. 

    A Life On Our Planet is Attenborough’s swan song, or as he describes it, his “witness statement.” Attenborough is at his best: thoughtful, concise, elegant, revenant, and blunt about the devastating mankind is inflicting on our world. It’s also sad, both because it reminds us of what we have wrought, and because it foreshadows another loss that we’ll all soon face — that of Attenborough himself.

  • Islands of Faith (Semesta)

    2019 | Netflix

    What role can religion play in protecting nature? The answers to that question are as diverse as religion itself. Islands of Faith follows seven different Indonesian communities as they try to harness the power of religion to combat climate change. Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and followers of indigenous religions all worship differently, but they’re united in their desire to protect the natural world. 

    If you’re interested in the intersection of environmentalism and religion — or if you’re a stir-crazy traveler stuck in lockdown — this is the film for you.

  • Tiny Creatures

    2020 | Netflix

    Megafauna are the bread and butter of wildlife television: Lions hunting gazelle, whales breaching in the blue sea, tigers stalking the mangroves. But what about the world’s tiny creatures? 

    This charming documentary focuses on the overlooked littles, from caterpillars to flying squirrels, to rattlesnakes and owls. (And don’t worry, there’s still plenty of suspenseful predator-and-prey action, albeit pint-sized.)

  • Night on Earth: Shot in the Dark

    2020 | Netflix

    © Nick Hall

    On our last doco roundup, we highlighted Netflix’s mesmerizing Night On Earth series. The six-part series uses low-light and thermal imaging technology to reveal what happens in nature under the cover of darkness. 

    If, like me, you immediately binge-watched the show and were left craving more, you’re in luck. The production team released a special behind-the-scenes episode called Night On Earth: Shot in the Dark. The hour-long episode reveals the technology, planning, and endurance behind the series’ incredible footage.

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  1. Jennifer Smith says:

    My Octopus Teacher is an awesome film. It made me feel so privileged to see such a beautiful relationship between to different species. We should all be so lucky to be able to experience such relationships in our lives.

  2. Larry Langdon says:

    THANK YOU for alerting us of these shows! I’d already seen one of them and can’t wait to see the others now that you helped me find them. Your tweet helped me find the article, and the publication, which I hadn’t known about either! I’ve contributed to Nature Conservancy and gotten mailings, but never got directed to “Cool Green Science” – at least not in a way that got me here! Tweet was very effective.