Because of the potential risk of audience infection, the corona virus makes live venue talks impossible for the immediate future.
Online presentations are an excellent alternative for organisations that still wish to arrange group events. Zoom and Microsoft Teams make it possible to give live illustrated presentations that are almost identical to a theatre talk - only watched at home. Viewers just need a laptop or tablet and internet connection. Please email Michael if this would be of interest.
Michael sets aside part of each year for presentations, to date he has given talks in 11 countries. Michael has been described as ‘a unique wildlife humorist’ and has spoken at Arts Festivals, Theatres, Schools, Universities, Rotary Clubs, After Dinner events, Science Festivals and Lecture Societies. His talks are lively, informative and thought-provoking.
He is a recommended speaker for the RSPB and National Trust. In 1996 Michael gave his 1500th lecture, since then there have been simply too many to keep close count. The talks are illustrated with original images taken during his expeditions. The exact length and content of each talk can be tailored to fit individual requirements and a question-time is offered at the close. Please email for a full list of current talks.
It's a Funny Way to Make a Living.
Michael explains the basics of his art in this revealing, humorous introduction to the realities of
professional wildlife filming. This is most definitely NOT a technical talk, Michael explains how
to coax animals into the right spot and convince them that no-one is watching. He uncovers
cunning, underhand tricks-of-the-trade that produce amazing photographs. Be prepared to
have some illusions shattered!
The Natural History of Christmas.
Each winter we spend weeks preparing for Christmas but where do these customs originate?
This talk is based on Michael’s latest book where he explores the natural history of the holly and
the ivy, the pre-Christian roots of hanging mistletoe and reveals that turkeys never did come from
Turkey! This illustrated talk explains why the robin is our favourite Christmas bird and the origin of
the Yule log. But, best of all, it reveals the unlikely story of why we thought that reindeer could fly.
Through stories about climate change, the Arctic and the Antarctic feature in the world’s media
every day, but they are often blurred in popular culture. Michael’s adventures have taken him into
both extremes. This personal journey reveals the fragile domains of polar bears, king penguins,
snowy owls, elephant seals and reindeer from opposite ends of the earth. In a time of Global
Warming we discover wild landscapes now at threat of destruction.
In the Midst of Gorillas.
Michael tells of his time high in the forest with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, gathering first-hand
material for his book - Faces in the Mirror. There are now only around 800 individuals left on earth
– here we meet an entire family group, from new a born baby to the silverback. He explains how to
get close to these charismatic characters and demonstrates how to communicate with the gentle,
intelligent primates that we have pushed to the edge of extinction.
Animals Behaving Badly.
It’s not only humans that develop bad habits. Animals, particularly the brighter ones, often reveal
some unlikely behaviour - sometimes learned from their human counterparts! Meet the drunken
monkeys, phobic ostriches, psychotic magpies, hallucinating lemurs, and larcenous orang-utans.
In The Blink of an Eye.
Michael’s trademark photographs capture high-speed action in ways beyond the capabilities of
human perception. In total all of the images in this talk encompass a time-span of less than
1/500th of a second and they reveal aspects of animals’ lives that are invisible without the use
of this unique and highly specialised technology.
Sacred to the island’s people, lemurs are found in just one place– Madagascar.
Once they were the most advanced mammal on Earth. There are around 86 species, some are almost
unknown to science while others, like the ring-tailed lemur, are amongst the most studied of all animals.
Lemurs are clever and inventive, they are also believed by the Malagasay people to embody the souls
of their ancestors. This talk explores lemur behaviour and their habitat which is threatened by
accelerating climate change.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Wolves of myth are murderous and vicious or seductive and cunning - the real animals are very
different but equally compelling. Michael takes us into the Great Northern Forest - home of the
timber wolf. He explores their complex social world, subtle behaviour and powerful family bonds.
They are timid, intelligent and kill only to survive. In our shared history the most violent
behaviour, by far, comes from humans. This talk unravels murky, misleading legend from fact.
In the Steps of the Ice Bear.
Polar bears, the super-predators of the frozen North, may vanish in our lifetime. The ice that
supports them, in every sense, is becoming thinner. This talk explores the life of the giant white
bear that roams the Arctic wilderness, the seals upon which it depends and its turbulent
relationshipwith humans. We discover its ancestors, the myths that surround it and consider its
specialisation for a truly uncompromising environment.
It’s a Funny Way to Make a Living Part Two.
Further confessions of a wildlife photographer featuring advice on how to make a wild cat look
moremenacing and thestory of working with hen harriers on a storm-swept Scottish mountain.
Michael reveals how cameramen look into thesecret world of underground dens and how to
build a motorway in your garden shed.
Beneath the Dark Canopy.
A tropical rainforest is the richest terrestrial habitat on Earth. It contains more than half of all known
animal species.But what exactly is a rainforest? Using experiences in Indonesia, the Amazon Basin,
West Africa and Central America, Michael explains how a forest works and shows some of the
specialised animals that have evolved to live in this fragile,intricate environment.
The Children’s Eternal Forest.
Bosque Eterno de los Ninos is one of the largest wildlife reserves in Central America. This cloud
forest is home to howler monkeys, sloths, hummingbirds and species still unknown to science. It
was saved by children - from all around the world. They raised funds and contributed pocket
money, until they had enough to buy the forest. The children rescued a hugely important habitat
and gave it, for ever, to the wildlife it supports. This talk tells the story of the
forest and how it was saved by some remarkable children.
Little was known about the Galapagos Islands when Charles Darwin visited in 1835. But his
discoveries there produced ideas that completely changed the way we view ourselves and our place
in the natural order of the world. Today these iconic islands are home to some extraordinary wildlife.
Michael has visited Galapagos many times and, here, he tells their story and uncovers many of
the animals that live there.
Owls of The World.
Michael has a passion for owls. Of the 250 species of owl alive today he has encountered more than
half - this talk looks at many of these and tells of Michael’s adventures working with them around the
globe for more than 20 years. We meet, amongst others, great horned, snowy, pygmy, great grey
and spectacled owls. And, of course, the biggest of them all – the deer-stalking eagle owl.
The Complete Owl.
Based on Michael’s best-selling book of the same name. This talk reveals resident British owls
in folklore and fact; it looks at barn owls and tawny owls, little owls and cat owls, and the
specialised techniques that help them hunt. Itdispels misleading myths and reveals the realities
of an owl’s life. The talk is illustrated with dramatic high-speed photographs of owls in flight.
In Search of the Flower Kissers.
Hummingbirds; Aztecs called them rays of the sun and in Brazil they are known as flower
kissers. There are more than 300 living species, from the tiny bee hummingbird ( the weight
of a paperclip) to the giant Patagonian. Everything about hummers is extreme; their
astonishing colours, 1000 beat-a-minute heart-rate, fearless aggression and, above all,
breathtaking flying abilities. They are the only bird that can fly backwards. This talk looks at
one of the world’s most iconic birds.