Filmmakers record the extreme rite of passage of barnacle goslings as they plummet over 120m down a cliff face

A barnacle gosling plummeting more than 120m (400ft) to follow its parents has been recorded by BBC filmmakers.

The chick’s death-defying tumble is a rite of passage among the birds that nest high up the cliffs in eastern Greenland. In order to reach the grassy feeding grounds below, the geese call to encourage their chicks to take an alarming leap down sheer rocks.

Filmmakers recorded the spectacle for BBC One series Life Story.

Leap of faith

In their first few days of life, tiny barnacle goslings are faced with one of the most extreme survival challenges in the natural world.

If the chicks bounce on their fluffy bellies on the way down, they are more likely to survive the impacts. They must be reunited with their parents on the scree slope below – then evade hungry predators.


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