White Falcon, White Wolf

Extending above the Arctic Circle in the far north of Canada, Ellesmere Island is one of largest untouched wildernesses on the planet.  Here, the animals have only three short months to raise offspring and prepare for the winter.  To succeed, their timing must be just right.  White Falcon, White Wolf follows two families, a breeding pair of gyrfalcons and a pack of Arctic wolves.  As nine months of snow and ice melt away, flowers bloom, young are born, and the struggle begins.

Gyrfalcons are the world’s largest and most powerful falcons.  Yet even for them, the pressure is on.  Last summer this pair’s two chicks died of starvation.  Will the conditions be right this summer?  Will their best efforts be enough to keep this year’s chicks healthy?  Filmed in HD from a ledge adjacent to the nesting site, White Falcon, White Wolf provides an intimate portrait of this magnificent species.

Meanwhile, the pack of Arctic wolves wait with great anticipation for a sign that new pups have been born to their breeding female, who has spent a great deal of time in her den. When the pups arrive, the young wolf daughter will need to grow up. For now, however, she tends to let her curiosity get the best of her. Musk ox, snowy owls, Arctic hares and Arctic foxes round out the cast, as they too try to make the most of the precious Arctic summer. Buy the DVD. The film premiered October 26, 2008.

  • Adele Fishman

    I’m so thrilled in anticipation of watching this wonderful program “White Falcon, White Wolf! I also hope that a certain Alaskan Governor will appreciate viewing wolves (not killing them) as precious to our environment!

  • Maki Murakami

    Adele, I agree with you. This Alaskan Governor doesn’t think Polar Bears and Beluga Whales need any habitat protection despite dwindling population. She continues to sue THIS ADMINISTRATION (which is anti-environment) over the decision to list them as endangered species. Her efforts have delayed the process of protection for over a year now. I don’t understand why nobody talking about how pro oil she is!! She is not a maverick; she always has been PRO OIL. By the way, she does not believe in scientific evidence, according to her she knows better than them what is right and wrong!

  • Mary Owens

    I can’t wait to see this!!!! It looks so wonderful!!!!
    Thank You!!!!!

  • sammy spacemeen

    Enjoy the show and leave your views in another roomsa

  • Cherene Mastroianni

    I too say, enjoy the show. I look forward to tuning in to these quality programs on PBS. I also say, keep your views right where they are, whatever they are. Whether you’re pro this or anti that, this is no time to be silent. We are all connected to this earth…a few drops here, a tidal wave there. Speak up and speak out.

  • ab

    I am watching and am fascinated not just by content, but by the amazing photography. How do the photographers cover all of these animals and know where to position themselves to watch flight, and to anticipate the movement of the creatures. I wonder how many hours were spent just to obtain the raw material for this one hour program.

  • Best Friend

    I liked this one

  • Donna J Kelly

    Fantastic program however, the Long-Tailed “Skua” was actually a Long-tailed “Jaeger”. Otherwise everything else was great.

  • David

    Amazing episode, stunning camera work and the whole thing looked just stellar in HD. Keep up the great work, this show is just wonderful!

  • BCole

    Considering how important every part of the shrinking Arctic habitat is, it is critical for us to speak up, inform others, and not cave in to the discomfort of the malinformed. Goo on you, Maki!

  • E. Soehren

    A wonderful episode and a delight to watch! However, I concur with Donna Kelly regarding the Long-tailed Jaeger mis-identification. Somebody should have picked that up before going to the final narration…

  • Vicki

    Will this be aired again?

  • NATURE Online

    To find out if this program will be aired again where you live, check your local listings. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/schedule/

  • jim whalen

    This episode looked stunning in HD, Overall this was an excellant episode. Keep up the good work

  • Maki Murakami

    What a great show! I also enjoyed the filmmaker’s interviews.
    We are no different than these wonderful animals that struggle to survive and raise their young for their future. Mother’s love, roll of family…unfortunately their destiny sometimes depends on us. This film made me more realize how precious the life on mother earth is and why we have to protect them not only for them but for US because we are part of this web of life (the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. –Chief Seattle)

  • Kimberly

    i loved watching this. its so thrilling to see nature in action

  • gin

    can’t seem to find a map of where the footage was taken. where is it on the web site?

  • Amber Sant’ Angelo

    I thought this episode was quite cool. I really like Nature.

  • Zort

    Quttinirpaaq National Park, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

  • Betsy Arehart

    just watched white wolves white falcon. i didn’t know it’s a new one. stunning! by the way i live in alaska and it will not be spoiled by development, we need it for AK and the USA. Bear, wolf, etc etc populations are in good shape! we know how to manage (yes!) our wildlife. if it were not for “development” making our “high civilization” possible, we wouldn’t even be in a position to appreciate the natural world as we do now.

  • G.Hastings

    Impressive, wish to purchase a video, Diections will be appreciated.

  • Melvin Wood


  • J. Casey

    Wonderful program! Anyone know where I might find the songs/music from this show?

  • Linda

    Possibly the most sublime filmmaking ever to be presented under the NATURE series banner. Congratulations!

  • Kim

    Great to see a gyrfalcon in its natural habitat. I have read about these being used for falconry. I took an interest in falconry after seeing last season’s episode “Raptor Force”. I am looking forward to becoming an apprentice falconer. I hope you do more on raptors!

  • Sandy Snyder

    Loved the photography as I do all Nature programs. Can anyone provide anecdotal information on the fact that the Ellesmere wolves don’t really hunt because they feed from the garbage dump at the military installation and are pretty much domesticated????

  • Dennis

    very nice ! I enjoyed the show very much



  • heather m.

    This was truly enthralling. I sat on the couch motionless the whole time. Amazing how close the cameras get, and the dichotomy of whimsy and seriousness shown in the animals’ lives (hares “dancing”, young falcons in dire straits). Watching “Nature” i am always reminded of how lovely this planet really is, and all my worries seem to melt away. Great work. More people should watch nature shows (;

  • IE Ries

    Another world-class program for viewers – thank you, PBS!

    As I watched the stories unfold – a mother struggling to feed her three young children and a young, inexperienced father learning his own limits; a clan comically swimming in a chilly pool chasing geese and an adolescent member who learned some valuable lessons about growing up – I couldn’t help but see how their lives are the same as ours. Their emotions, so readable and open, just like ours in the same situation.

    The symbolism of a single molted feather on the grass with changes in the clouds and seasons was effective, thought-provoking and primal.

    Thank you PBS, and MORE, please!!

  • Jo

    Jaeger is what North Americans call some of the skuas. Same scientific name, though, _Stercorarius longicaudus_.

  • Donna Reed

    Absolutely loved the show,we are so lucky to have a station like PBS to bring us all the travels and animals of the world. Thank You so much.

  • Ralph

    Terrific show that brought back wonderful memories. During the summers of 1959-60 and 1963-66 I worked at Ellesmere Island weather stations at Eureka and Alert. Were any portions of the show filmed near either Eureka or Alert?

  • Alex J. Cameron

    It is a pleasure to see a wildlife show without humans in it. These days that’s all we see. This is a return to the finer nuanced wildlife storytelling.

  • Arnauyaq Nasook

    This was a great program to watch
    especially being from the north and not seeing our animals in their natural state…
    great subject and beautiful
    I actually recognized every animal that was on this episode.

  • jack hamner

    “not a human in sight…” i’ll bet the wolves can see our photographer!

  • Vivian Kavanagh

    I really want my youngest daughter to see this! The falcon mother leaving her starving chicks to take over her preening obsessed supposed to be a father’s job of feeding them because she lost her last chicks to his (insert offensive comments here) lack of interest in them! The young female wolf who almost lost her life because she got separated from the pack while admiring herself! This episode was brilliant on every level!

  • Linus

    it is lovely. However, while i get sound, is there any narration in this episode? I am 12 minutes in and i don’t hear any narration.

  • Harley Rowell

    i think that the white falcon,white wolf is very beautiful

  • Heart of the Wolf Organization

    Loved this program, especially the saga of the Arctic wolf being separated from her pack and the saga of her journey, as well as the other creatures.

    Our group loved the film so much we did a review on it.

  • Kevin

    I missed the original broadcast. I’m waiting to see a re-airing of the film. I’ve seen the preview clip and it looks great! Thanks for producing these intelligent, quality films. I hope all viewers continue to use their public voice to protect our public lands. The public advocacy of protecting our lands helps make opportunities to see these activities (someday) possible. It keeps the dream alive for the average citizen. We CAN be inspired by things other than Wal-Mart sales. None of us aspire to see a shopping center in our dreams. For 20 years I’ve listened to many of those that hope to represent us advocate for a “business” approach to governance. It has been a disaster. I’m engaged in business on a daily basis (as are most of us). I can tell you with conviction that the profit motive is no way to run a government or represent the interest of future generations. Governments exist for the good of all people, not a few. Beware of those that claim different. Keep up the good work on the Nature programs. Support all outdoor activities and vote your conscious.

  • tholley

    beautiful filming

  • HeidiHo

    I have never seen rabbits play before. What a gift! They reminded me of bucking broncos at the rodeo. Please, keep filming, places like this are pristine and breath-taking.

  • Greta

    I was inside watching a movie and I noticed while scrolling through the guide on the tv, that there was a new episode of Nature. I love animal shows. I put this show on about THE WHITE FALCON AND WHITE WOLF.
    WOW!!! I loved every minute of it. To see the rabbits jumping like that also, was adorable, and I don’t think anyone should keep them as pets. All wild animals should be free and safe from poachers and etc.
    Thank you very much for filming these episodes. All the scenery is beautiful.

  • Mari Lynn

    This was a stunning, brilliantly filmed documentary! Amazing, amazing fiming, I don’t know how you did it but it was spellbinding from beginning to end…and I didn’t want it to end!

  • bob

    i loved this show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robin Song

    Wonderful episode…just one glaring fault: the bird that was stated as a “Skua” is actually a Long-Tailed Jeager. Skuas live near the ocean and do not nest on the tundra, and look totally different than the Jeagers in the film. Please, please make sure the species are given their correct names, as a lot of people are watching and need the correct information.

    While I have not been to Elsemeare Island- but hope to get there, one day- I have been to The Gates Of The Arctic, and was very happy to photograph/film and observe the wildlife there, including the Long-Tailed Jeagers. Wonderful birds. Blessings, Robin of Talkeetna, Alaska

  • NATURE Online

    For those of you who asked questions about the difference between jaegers and skuas: North Americans make distinctions between jaegers and skuas, while in the UK both are referred to as skuas.

  • Name

    Wolves are my favorite, and the white wolves are just gorgeous! It is a shame that north isn’t surviving well with global warming, I don’t know what I’ll do if those beautiful wolves disappear!

  • Monk

    This show was great, kudos to the photographers who captured these amazing shots!

  • Tom Wilkening

    Some members of my family did not see this show. Please please air it again soon (and not at 3:00 AM)!
    Thank you.

  • mishthi

    it is so beautiful and atractive,i like it so much,i want to saw that so close,,,,,,,

  • bob


  • julia

    i missed white fal. white wolf. please show the docum. again . thank you, jc

  • Ann

    We just bought a 19″ wide screen high definition TV for our kitchen, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off that astounding piece. This TV is opening up an whole new world to me! How in the world did the photographers get those shots?

  • deborah

    wonderful program…thank you…

  • dorothy

    Really enjoy the show and my cat too. The picture was great can’t wait for the cd to come out in Feb will be buying it. Thanks. Enjoy the program educational.

  • sandy soli

    I’d like to send you a photo of my cat watching White Falcon, White Wolf — she also loves the Nature series and is fascinated by the animals. This is not just for a few minutes, mind you, but for the entire program!

  • Alliyah

    WOW love it

  • Mike

    Interesting! I hope that everyone’s Sunday was great and I hope that everyone has a great week!

  • santi martorano;bahia,novato.

    i brought up a most beautiful arctictimbermalimute white snowblind wolf nov, 1989. my parents took a little vacation towards oregon for couple weeks . i told em i,m gonna get a dog , either a pit or rotwieler befor they left. they come back and tell me they stayed in hoopa met a nice indian off the klamath river with a wolf that just had 4 cubs and is in her den she made. i told my parents i will take 1 cub and do the responsible care for the animal. few weeks later they went up , and came back with 2 8week old pure white wolves ,hoopa girl and willow. i felt i was gonna be way out of league with my mntn bike and 2 wolves with retractable leashes , so willow moved to pacifica and 2 female malimutes .i had spent nearly 15 years with hoopa girl ,thanks to my mom and dad sebastian & nancy martorano was able to understand the wolf more than any human could ever dream to be how i understood god coaching me and i took real risks when ever that leash was off her not to kill and eat any female dog or fixed maledog .she went to obedient school at marin humane society ,definateley all with the leash,be ready with mntbike to tackle her like joe montana can make a point end of games and succeed not to hurt your wolf your self not to have my wolf havean instant sport event with community pets but jackrabbitts beware . thank you god for my best friend ,could not be duplicatedwith another wolf how marty stoefer would hand the nobel prize to be a wolf inside a humans instincts knowledged. santi.

  • hoopagirl and santi ,true love

    the wolf is a very majesticly well mannered at the dinner table or where ever we would go and do . she’s even been on the gondola at sugarbowl. bottom line is do not get a wolf and keep it in a back yard or take a wild animal and let that animal suffer the being icarscerated prison depression of a reagular dog gets most there life.

  • Lal De silva

    Thank you so much for the Nature update is amazing, congratulation for the for the programme team,with out your innovative effort and your kind subscribing I never ever going to have a chance to see those extra ordinary fauna in my life. Thanking you Lal De Silva (Naturalist from Srilanka)

  • Steve K

    How true sammy :), it was a great show, to bad there has to be fools posting there thoughts about this, why? Are they really that out of touch with the real world and how it works?

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  • Dan S

    I have seen this wonderful show twice and can’t wait to see it again. It’s one of the best ever produced. Our cat also approves. He has sat mesmerized, intently watching the entire show, both times. Thank you PBS.

  • Karen Schieck

    Even though I promoted the last viewing on WETA on my Facebook page, I managed to miss the airing myself. I loved the original films I saw of Ellesmere Island and the Arctic Wolves National Geographic produced. I hope this Nature production is aired again soon, but don’t see it on the schedule.

  • Candas

    I really enjoy looking at the wolves on the previews

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