About Gannets: The Wrong Side of the Run

Gannets are a species of bird not normally afforded a whole documentary. But perhaps they should be.


Yes, you read correctly. This is a film about gannets, a species of birds not normally afforded a whole documentary. But these birds with the bad reputation are stunning predators and The Wrong Side Of The Run looks at how these extraordinary birds capture their prey.

Gannet colony

It starts with two movements of two massive sardine populations at the tip of South Africa. From Cape Aghulas, the sardines spread in two directions. One route sees eggs and larvae being washed up the western coast of Africa, and the other sees a migration of the little fish up the east coast.

In the west, the gannets and seals of the Malgas Islands have to compete with commercial fishing operations. But in the east, thousands of gannets congregate for a sardine feast.

These underwater specialists – unusual for a bird – are captured in their full diving glory as they hurtle at breakneck speeds towards the water, their expert hunting techniques revealed. But once the sardine feast is over, the gannets turn from hunter into protector – their chicks and young adults are soon hunted by starving seals.