Birds of Paradise: Extreme, Bizarre, Extraordinary

  • Date
    April 25, 2013
  • Time 10:00 a.m.
  • Location Washington, D.C.
  • Price $10 per student; registration required. Call 202-857-7281.

Past Event

Photo: Birds of paradise
A portrait of one of the 39 species of birds of paradise

Photograph by Tim Laman

Ed Scholes and Tim Laman

Photograph by Tim Laman

View a gallery of Tim Laman’s photos

“The courtship display of a bird of paradise is totally ordinary in his world but truly bizarre in ours. Being a witness to this spectacle of nature has made all the hard work and discomfort worthwhile.” —Tim Laman

Tim Laman has earned a reputation for capturing images of nearly impossible subjects—from animals that glide through rain forest canopies to some of the most rare and endangered birds in the world. His pioneering research in Borneo led to a Ph.D. from Harvard, and his photography has been featured in 18 National Geographic stories.

Working with Cornell University ornithologist Ed Scholes, who has been conducting field research on the birds of paradise for over ten years, Laman’s latest work focuses on these unique and majestic species, found deep in the New Guinea wilderness. Evolved to attract mates with their extraordinarily colorful feathers, which they display in dances executed with ballerina-like grace, the birds of paradise are a living laboratory of natural selection.

In this stunning presentation tied to their forthcoming book, Birds of Paradise Revealed (fall 2012), these intrepid scientists share remarkable photographs and video to reveal—for the first time—all 39 species, including their colorful plumage, secret lives, bizarre displays, and dazzling courtship antics. Join Laman and Scholes as they recount their wild and hairy adventures in the New Guinea rain forest in search of some of nature’s most extraordinary wonders. And explore the fascinating scientific questions around how such extreme creatures and behaviors could have evolved.

After the program, head over to the National Geographic Museum to visit the Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution and Real Pirates exhibitions. Complete your visit with our Asia Giant Traveling Map and build-a-bird art activity.

Recommended for grades 3–8. Curriculum connections: Life sciences/Biology, Tropical Ecosystems, Photography & Filmmaking. Ticket includes Grosvenor Auditorium presentation with Q&A, Museum admission, Giant Traveling Map experience, and art activity. Call 202.857.7281 today to purchase tickets!

View a gallery of photos by Tim Laman.

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Event Sponsors

  • Presenting National Sponsor

    Logo: Geico
  • Community Partner

    Logo: Politics & Prose
  • Community Partner

    Logo: Whole Foods

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